Work has started on the next phase of Rails to Trails, a project to convert a former CSX railroad into a bicycle and pedestrian pathway in the center of Oak Ridge.
After about six months of discussions, the City of Oak Ridge has a right of entry, which allows geotechnical and surveying work to be done on the former railroad, said Jon Hetrick, director of the city’s Recreation and Parks Department. Geotechnical work allows holes to be bored in the ground for subsurface studies.
The survey and geotechnical work is being done by A. Morton Thomas and Associates of Kingsport. The Oak Ridge City Council awarded a $358,317 contract to that company in May. A. Morton Thomas is to provide environmental testing, master planning, design and engineering of the trail, and help with construction bidding.
After a Tuesday evening City Council work session, Hetrick said the geotechnical and survey work is required under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. The city hopes to have the NEPA phase approved through the Tennessee Department of Transportation by August, Hetrick said. [Read more…]