The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday will consider a $1.5 million contract with the Tennessee Department of Transportation that would allow a former railroad to be converted into a greenway.
The so-called Rails to Trails project would convert about 4.85 miles of unused CSX railroad into a pedestrian and bicycle trail.
The former railroad starts at Elza Gate Park at Melton Lake Drive in east Oak Ridge, runs past the Emory Heights neighborhood and Jefferson Middle School, crosses Emory Valley Road near Hank’s Market, and then continues through the Hendrix Creek neighborhood along Lafayette Drive before ending near South Illinois Avenue, Scarboro Road, and the Y-12 National Security Complex.
The Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) approved $1.224 million for the project in October 2016 through the Transportation Alternative Program, or TAP. There is a local match of $306,000. The combined funding from the TAP award and the local match is $1.53 million.
In an interview after the grant was awarded, Ellen Zavisca, senior transportation planner for the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization, said it’s federal funds disbursed in the area specifically for projects that provide safe places for bicycle and pedestrian projects. [Read more…]