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Local News

Erwin board takes steps toward work on tunnel

October 11th, 2011 9:30 am by Brad Hicks

The Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved a local engineering firm’s proposal for engineering services on a long-discussed project.

The board, which met in regular session Monday, approved the proposal from Tysinger, Hampton & Partners to complete engineering services on the Harris Hollow Road tunnel project.

This project is part of Phase II of the town’s Linear Trail project and calls for the construction of a pedestrian tunnel under Harris Hollow Road to complete the section of the Erwin Linear Trail between McDonald’s and Fishery Park. The town of Erwin recently received a grant of more than $460,000 through the Tennessee Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant Program for Phase II of the Linear Trail project.

Gray Tysinger with Tysinger, Hampton & Partners said the total cost of the engineering fee would be a little more than $121,000. Erwin Town Recorder Randy Trivette said the TDOT grant will not cover the $65,700 part of this fee for the construction plans, but can be used to cover the $55,600 portion for construction engineering inspection. Trivette said the town did budget for some engineering fees in the 2011-12 fiscal year.

“The only hard or real costs to us are the first $65,000 for the environmentals and construction documents, then the only part will roll into your grant,” Trivette said.

Tysinger said the aim of the project is to put a 10 foot by 10 foot pedestrian tunnel under Harris Hollow Road with the least amount of impact to area citizens and businesses.

“This is the most temporarily impacted part of this project we will have to do,” Tysinger said.

Two construction methods are being looked at, Tysinger said, with both involving pre-cast tunnel sections. In the first, Tysinger said crews could work by cutting off a portion of the road, leaving one lane open at a time. In the second, which Tysinger referred to as the “24-hour method,” crews would close the road for 24 hours, install a section of the tunnel and then reopen the road.

Tysinger also said that the state of Tennessee has adopted federal rules for design and construction, and TDOT Enhancement Projects require approval on items including environmental impact, preliminary engineering plans, utility notifications and construction engineering inspection. It would also require the acquisition of geotechnical information and at least two informational public meetings, Tysinger said.

If the project were to get under way this year, Tysinger said it would take around two to twoand-a-half years to complete.

“That doesn’t mean it would take that long,” Tysinger said. “That’s an average of what’s been going on when you look at other areas.”

In other business, the board:

• Approved the second and final reading of an ordinance to adopt a debt-management policy in accordance with the requirement of the Tennessee State Funding Board.

• Approved a request from Reed Jackson for an Eagle Scout Project at Fishery Park. The project would consist of the installation of a beach volleyball court at the park.

• Approved a resolution authorizing the application for grant funds through the Recreational Trails Program for the Erwin Linear Trail Spillway. Trivette said the estimated cost of the project would be $150,000, and the town could receive around $120,000 for it in grant funding.

• Approved a resolution proclaiming Oct. 16 as National Feral Cat Day in the town of Erwin.

• Heard a departmental report from Erwin Police Chief Regan Tilson.

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