OR ‘Rails to Trails’ project to be discussed Nov. 10

As we reported last month, the City of Oak Ridge is continuing to work on a “Rails-to-Trails” project that has been planned for years and will convert 4.6 miles of unused railroad into a greenway for walkers, runners, and bicyclists.

The city will have a drop-in public meeting about the project from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 10, in the Oak Ridge Civic Center Gym. The trail design and next steps will be presented, and the city will seek input from residents. Masks are encouraged at the meeting, the city said.

The greenway along the former CSX railroad will extend from east Oak Ridge past Jefferson Middle School to Y-12 National Security Complex. It will start at Elza Gate at the Oak Ridge Turnpike; run along Belgrade Road, Warehouse Road, Fairbanks Road, and Lafayette Drive; and cross South Illinois Avenue to the Y-12 National Security Complex entrance on Scarboro Road.

Project funding was initially awarded in 2017 through a Transportation Alternatives Program grant administered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation to help with preliminary studies, design, and acquisition of the right-of-way. Then, the fiscal year 2020-2023 Knoxville Regional Transportation Improvement Program, a four-year work program approved by the Federal Highway Administration, allocated federal transportation funds for 80% of the full construction cost of the 4.6-mile greenway, based on a total project cost of $4.4 million.

Currently, the city’s consultant has completed preliminary studies and design, and the next phase is railway acquisition, the press release said.

For questions or more information, email railstotrails@oakridgetn.gov.

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 6:30 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. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, and cats Oliver, Bow and Libby.

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