TDOT providing safety barriers for church


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Leaders of a church in North Knoxville are pleased with the results of their negotiations with TDOT.

Engineers from the Tennessee Department of Transportation agreed to provide safety barriers requested by the church.

A safety railing is now up around the church.

The huge Western Avenue expansion project in North Knoxville, now in its third year, perched Keith Avenue Baptist high up on a hill.

Last month, members told us how Sunday attendance has dropped due to heavy construction around their church.

They were most concerned, however, about a steep hill sliced out in front of their building. TDOT telling us they listened and action is being taken.

The Western Avenue widening project viewed in the distance has isolated Keith Avenue Baptist Church placing it atop an island hard to locate for prospective visitors and difficult to access for those who can find the church.

Leaders say Sunday attendance has dropped dramatically since construction began three years ago. But it’s the kids they’re worried about and when they are outside the building.

The pastor says there’s a dangerous steep drop-off form the church property to the new road below. Since we first reported this three weeks ago, there’s been a compromise with the state.

Keith Avenue Baptist once sat a top a gently sloping hill on nearly two acres of property with parking lots on each side and a horseshoe connector in front of the church.

Church leaders didn’t like that steep grade from their property plunging to the road below and were originally disappointed with the single fence proposal.

After their meeting with TDOT engineers, Keith Baptist leaders have achieved their goal of acquiring two safety barriers.

Already the guard rail is up and TDOT says the black tubular safety railing around the top of the slope will be installed soon.

Now, the road in front of the church is nearing completion.

Which should make the entrance to the church easier to access for visitors. Sterchi Street and Keith Avenue have been torn up for nearly two years making it not only difficult to access the building, but a struggle to find the church, if you were a visitor wanting to attend a Sunday Service.


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