The Town of Oak Ridge continues to work on a Rails to Trails project that has been in the works for years that will convert 4.6 miles of unused track to a greenway for walkers, runners and cyclists.
The city will hold a walk-in public meeting on the project from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10 at the Oak Ridge Civic Center gymnasium. 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 Green Lane along the old CSX Railroad will run east of Oak Ridge past Jefferson Middle School to the Y-12 National Security Complex. It will start at Elza Gate at the Oak Ridge Toll Freeway; walk along Belgrade Road, Warehouse Road, Fairbanks Road and Lafayette Drive; and cross South Illinois Avenue to the entrance to the Y-12 National Security Complex on Scarboro Road.
“The greenway system brings parks closer to all citizens of Oak Ridge,” said Jon Hetrick, Director of Recreation and Parks. “It offers the ability to move without a motor, enjoy enjoyable physical exercise, learn wildlife experiences, and connect to parks, schools and shopping areas.”
Funding for the project was initially provided in 2017 through a grant from the Alternative Transportation Program administered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation to assist with preliminary studies, design and acquisition of the right-of-way. Next, the 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 total greenway construction cost of 4, 6 miles, based on a total project cost of $ 4.4 million, according to a press release.
Currently, the city consultant has completed the preliminary studies and design, and the next phase is the acquisition of the railway, according to the press release.
“In addition to creating a safe and secure corridor for cyclists and pedestrians that is accessible from surrounding neighborhoods, the greenway will help expand a larger network of greenways, pathways and sidewalks for people to use,” City of Oak Ridge Community Development Planner said Nathalie Schmidt.
“To learn more about how the Rails to Trails Project supports the three overarching goals of the Oak Ridge City Blueprint, a visionary community plan that states Oak Ridge will improve through planned strategic growth and by knowing and preserving its most cherished values, visit http://oakridgeblueprint.info, ”the press release read. For questions or more information, send an email [email protected].
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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