City may construct pedestrian bridge from Tweetsie to Sycamore Shoals

Published 8:46 am Monday, December 22, 2014

NW1221 Elk Avenue Foot Bridge A 4x5C

Pedestrians may one day have an easier, and safer, way to cross from the Tweetsie Trail over to Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park and the city’s Linear Trail.
Elizabethton Planning Director Jon Hartman said the city is working with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to develop plans for a pedestrian foot bridge to cross West Elk Avenue from the area of Dixon Street to Sycamore Shoals.
“When the city’s linear path is complete, it will end at Sycamore Shoals,” Hartman said. “One of the big issues in that area is pedestrians need an easier and safer way to cross from one trail system to the other.”
Hartman noted the plans were in the “very early” stages and would be a part of the future State Route 91 widening and paving project if the final plans are approved. If those plans are approved it could be around five years before the start of work on the bridge takes place.
“There are still a lot of ‘ifs’ in place with this project,” Hartman said.
While the inclusion of the bridge was submitted with the SR91 widening plans, Hartman said the exact location and style of the bridge has not been determined.
He said once those plans have been drawn up they will be submitted to TDOT for final approval.
“If TDOT approves those plans, then it will have to go through other studies,” Hartman said.
These studies will include environmental impact studies and historical studies because it would connect to a historic state park.
“There are a lot of hoops to jump through,” he said. “If we make it through those hoops, then it will be a part of that construction project.”
For the State Route 91 widening and repaving project, Hartman said TDOT was still in the preliminary study phases and were acquiring rights of way.
“We are least five years away, if not more,” he said.
Additionally, the master plan for the Tweetsie Trail calls for a trail head area with parking spaces to be located at the bridge.
Hartman said there are no plans to start that project in the near future.

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