EnergySolutions to donate section of rail track to support proposed OR Airport

(Oak Ridge/Energy Solutions press release) To support the proposed Oak Ridge Airport, EnergySolutions recently announced plans to donate a section of rail track to the City of Oak Ridge.

In January, Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson contacted EnergySolutions asking for their consideration of transferring 1.67 miles of track affecting the proposed airport’s 5,000-foot runway. EnergySolutions followed up with the City and has chosen to donate the track to the City instead.

EnergySolutions is pleased to make this donation to the City as a gesture of our commitment and support for the City and the City’s plans for the airport,” Joe Heckman, President of Waste Management at EnergySolutions said.

The track being donated is from the Wheat Station area to the south end of the line near Portal 10.

This donation will save the City a substantial amount of time and money in the process to help bring a general aviation airport to Oak Ridge. The costs to construct replacement track are significant and exceed $1 million per mile,” said Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson. “We appreciate EnergySolutions’ dedication to helping move this project along.”

As part of the donation, the City will cover legal costs and fees needed to transfer the property.

The proposed Airport Project has been previously estimated to cost a total of $55 million. Through a series of grants from the State of Tennessee Aviation Department and Appalachian Regional Committee, it is targeted to complete the project in mid-2025. Should this prove not to be the case, further financial authorization would be required by City Council.

It has received widespread regional support, including from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, UT Battelle Development Corporation, UCOR, and the Chambers of Commerce of Oak Ridge, Knoxville, and Blount County. The airport will support general aviation in the greater Oak Ridge Corridor and Knoxville region. It’s also expected to support growth in the business and industrial sectors.

The airport project is being directly managed by the City Manager’s Office. For more information, visit www.OakRidgeAirport.org, or contact the Oak Ridge City Manager’s Office at (865) 425-3550.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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