More than 400 lose power after car crashes into utility pole on Lafayette

Lafayette Drive Utility Pole Crash

A car crashed into a utility pole on Lafayette Drive early Monday afternoon, knocking out power to 441 customers.

More than 400 customers lost power early Monday afternoon after a car crashed into a utility pole on Lafayette Drive, officials said.

The driver was reportedly taken to a medical center to be examined but appeared to have escaped major injuries, officials said.

The crash, which snapped a utility pole at an intersection with Midway Lane, was reported to the Oak Ridge Electric Department at about 1:20 p.m.

The Electric Department reported that 441 customers lost power. Most were in the Woodland neighborhood along the so-called “P” streets and Quincy Avenue. [Read more...]

Clarksville woman taken to UT hospital after driver falls asleep, car rolls

A Clarksville woman was taken by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville early Sunday after the driver of a car in which she was riding fell asleep, and the vehicle rolled, went airborne, and struck a series of objects on South Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge, including a tree and utility pole, authorities said.

The 2011 Toyota Camry four-door sedan was headed north in the right-hand lane of South Illinois Avenue at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday when it first struck a right-hand curb at Centrifuge Way, the former Boeing Road, an Oak Ridge Police Department crash report said. The car then entered a median, rolled over onto its passenger side, struck a utility pole and an embankment, and became airborne, the report said. The vehicle then struck a second curb, became airborne again, struck a tree and embankment at the same time, and came to rest at the bottom of a second embankment. [Read more...]

Pictures: Snow day in Oak Ridge

Snow at South Illinois Avenue and Centrifuge Way

There are few cars on South Illinois Avenue near Centrifuge Way after a winter storm dumped eight to 12 inches of snow on parts of Oak Ridge and Anderson County.

More than eight inches of snow fell in parts of Oak Ridge between Wednesday night and Thursday morning as a major winter storm hit the Southeast. There were reports that up to 12 inches fell in parts of Anderson County. A National Weather Service meteorologist said it was the most snow in one storm in about 15 years.

Here are photos from across Oak Ridge on Thursday morning as some residents and workers cleared roads or shoveled sidewalks and driveways, while others enjoyed the day off by sledding at Blankenship Field.

Sledding at Blankenship Field

Adults and children enjoy sledding at Blankenship Field on Thursday.

[Read more...]

Driver dies after vehicle crashes into tree on Lafayette Drive

Lafayette Drive Fatal Crash into Tree

A southbound Toyota 4Runner crashed into a tree in the median of Lafayette Drive Thursday morning, and the driver died on the way to a Knoxville hospital. Above, workers remove the tree from the road after the driver was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

The driver of a Toyota 4Runner died on the way to a Knoxville hospital Thursday morning after crashing into a tree on Lafayette Drive in Oak Ridge, authorities said.

The single-vehicle crash occurred at about 9:22 a.m. Thursday on Lafayette Drive between Hendrix Drive and South Illinois Avenue, the Oak Ridge Police Department said. The red sports utility vehicle was driving south when it left the roadway and struck a tree in the median between the southbound and northbound lanes.

“The driver was removed from the vehicle and was unresponsive when police and rescue arrived,” the ORPD said. “The driver of the vehicle expired while being transported to University of Tennessee Hospital. No further information will be released pending notification of family members, and the investigation remains ongoing.” [Read more...]

New interchange opens land for development, reuses industrial building

Centrifuge Way Dedication

Local and state officials and business leaders celebrate the new interchange at Centrifuge Way and South Illinois Avenue with a Thursday afternoon ribbon-cutting.

The new interchange at Centrifuge Way and South Illinois Avenue opens land for development on top of Pine Ridge and help a uranium enrichment company reuse an industrial building in south Oak Ridge, officials said Thursday.

The $1.6 million state project to improve the interchange at the former Boeing Road was under way in December 2012 and completed in the summer of 2013.

“Because of this interchange, there will be more land available,” Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan said during a Thursday afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony. [Read more...]

TDOT commissioner in Oak Ridge for Centrifuge Way dedication

Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer will be in Oak Ridge on Thursday for the dedication of a new interchange at Centrifuge Way and South Illinois Avenue, or State Route 62.

Centrifuge Way is the former Boeing Road in south Oak Ridge.

The dedication is at 4:15 p.m.

See this story for more information.

Ole Ben Franklin Motors opens Thursday, sixth new business in south Oak Ridge

Ole Ben Franklin Motors Building and Sign

Eric Martin of Sign Co. Inc. in Knoxville installs lettering at Ole Ben Franklin Motors on South Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge on Tuesday.

Ole Ben Franklin Motors, the largest independent used car lot in Tennessee, is expanding into Oak Ridge, and the company’s new location on South Illinois Avenue will open Thursday, the owner said Tuesday.

It will be the sixth business to open in a little more than one year in a one-third mile stretch of the busy roadway at the southern entrance to central Oak Ridge.

“We want to be part of (the growth),” said Mike Mencer, owner of the Knoxville-based company.

Mencer said the Ole Ben Franklin Motors lot at the former Dean Stallings Ford could have more than 100 cars when it opens at 9 a.m. Thursday. He said the company has a great selection of used cars, can offer financing through its own bank, and has been in business for 30 years. [Read more...]

Bojangles’ restaurant opening in Oak Ridge on Dec. 27


Bojangles’ restaurant will open on South Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge on Friday, Dec. 27.

Bojangles’ restaurant will open in Oak Ridge on Friday, Dec. 27.

The new restaurant is at 490 S. Illinois Ave., just south of the former Dean Stallings Ford.

The company said Bojangles’ is “a Southern-style restaurant famous for serving made-from-scratch biscuits, hand-breaded chicken, and mouth-watering breakfast all day.”

Bojangles’ is offering $100 gift cards to the first 100 customers at 5 a.m. Dec. 27, and one lucky customer will win free breakfasts for a year, a press release said. [Read more...]

String of beer permit hearings ends with no action against three restaurants

Lincoln's Sports Grille

The city’s beer board took no action against Lincoln’s Sports Grille on Monday, the board’s third show cause hearing of the year for the restaurant and bar on South Illinois Avenue.

The city’s beer board ended an unusual string of hearings for local restaurants and bars this year by taking no action in its last two meetings. Most of the hearings were called after establishments sold beer to a minor during a state sting in March, but a few were related to bar fights.

The final show cause hearing, held Monday, was called after a Nov. 2 fight at Lincoln’s Sports Grille on South Illinois Avenue. The fight started after a highly intoxicated North Carolina man who had refused to pay his bar bill “came after” a male acquaintance who volunteered to cover his tab, the restaurant manager and police officers said.

The previous two show cause hearings in November were for Aubrey’s and Ruby Tuesday, which both sold beer to a minor during a March 18 compliance check by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission. The two restaurants were among seven establishments cited for selling alcohol to a minor after that sting. The other five were Applebee’s, Hacienda DeGollado, Hidalgo, Lincoln’s, and Moose Lodge No. 1316. [Read more...]

Council agrees to buy car wash to build sewer system tank

Mullins Car Wash

The Oak Ridge City Council has approved the purchase of Mullins Performance Car Wash in south Oak Ridge to allow the city to build a sewer system holding tank.

A car wash in south Oak Ridge could soon be replaced by a sewer system holding tank.

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday voted 5-1 to buy the car wash, owned by businessman Terry Mulllins, for $125,000.

The land is at the southern gateway to Oak Ridge, near the intersection of Scarboro Road and South Illinois Avenue. The city agreed to buy the property so workers can place the proposed tank, officially called an equalization basin, farther away from the busy intersection and make it less visible. The intersection is used by thousands of drivers every day, including workers at the Y-12 National Security Complex.

The tank is one of three equalization basins that the city plans to build in order to comply with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency order that requires Oak Ridge to repair all sewer system overflows by September 2015. [Read more...]

Council considers buying car wash land for sewer system tank

The Oak Ridge City Council will consider a $125,000 contract to buy a car wash at the intersection of Scarboro Road and South Illinois Avenue so the city can build a sewer system holding tank—or equalization basin.

Council approved the location in September and authorized the city manager to negotiate a sales price with property owner Terry Mullins.

See the agenda here.

The City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom.

Some road, lane closures during Secret City Half Marathon Nov. 30-Dec. 1

Secret City Half Marathon Course Map

The course map for the Secret City Half Marathon is pictured above.

Some traffic lanes and roads will be closed, and several main roads and intersections will be affected by the Secret City Half Marathon road races next weekend, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, officials said Thursday.

About 800 runners are expected to race on the streets and greenways of Oak Ridge during these family-friendly athletic events, the City of Oak Ridge and Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau said in a press release Thursday.

“Motorists should be aware of runners and walkers in the race areas and try to avoid these roads and find alternate routes if possible,” the release said.

The first-ever Secret City 5k and 10k races will be held Saturday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 a.m. The Oak Ridge Police Department will shut down portions of the race course during the affected time periods. Both races start and finish on Badger Avenue near Oak Ridge Associated Universities and continue along the following route through central Oak Ridge: [Read more...]