By Richard Rourk

As part of the preparations for welcoming a new Food City store to Erwin, town officials are preparing to construct a new traffic light.

The Town of Erwin has agreed to have a traffic signal located on the intersection of Second Street and the entrance to the new Food City, which is slated to be open during the summer. The light will be constructed at the intersection of Second Street, the entrance to Food City and where the railroad overpass meets Second Street.

“The traffic light project went out to bid on Wednesday, Feb. 6,” Town of Erwin City Recorder Glenn Rosenoff told The Erwin Record.

Rosenoff reported that constructing a mast arm signal could cost roughly $200,000. Rosenoff recently asked the Unicoi County Joint Economic Development Board (JEDB) to partner with the town on the project and the JEDB agreed to contribute $20,800 towards the cost of erecting the traffic signal.

The remaining amount will be paid for by the recent bond the Town of Erwin received from the City of Clarksville. The loan that was made not to exceed $1 million, was approved during a September meeting of the Town Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The funds were allocated for this project, as well as other public works projects.

“The projected revenue from the Food City site should help offset the cost of the repayment of the bond,” Rosenoff had previously said.

The traffic light project is a collaboration of the Town of Erwin, JEDB and Erwin Utilities and is expected to be completed by June.

“Our desired time frame for completion was four months from going to bid on Feb. 6,” Rosenoff said.

The traffic signal will help the congested area on Second Street, according to Rosenoff.

“It is intended to provide a safer means of vehicle flow and coordination, as well as to provide a safer driving experience through a higher traffic area,” Rosenoff said.

Construction on the traffic signal is expected to start in the coming months and an update to the citizens will be provided as to what to expect at the intersection.

The town will have a pre-construction meeting with the bid winner to address any safety concerns or detours.

“Any delays or safety precautions will be discussed with the contractor and announced to the public through various communication strategies,” Rosenoff said.