1st Section of Knox/Blount Greenway Opens

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

1st Section of Knox/Blount Greenway Opens

Posted: 12/15/2015
Knox Blount Greenway

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, City Council members and regional officials this morning opened the first section of the Knox/Blount Greenway, a two-mile stretch from the south side of the J.E. “Buck” Karnes Bridge to Knox County’s Marine Park.

Knox Blount Greenway Ribbon Cutting The greenway segment eventually will be part of a connected pedestrian route that links from Neyland Drive in downtown Knoxville to Townsend’s trail system in the Great Smoky Mountains.

“The Knox/Blount Greenway is one of Knoxville’s most scenic, with unusual vistas of the Tennessee River and the North Waterfront,” Mayor Rogero said.

“Today’s ribbon-cutting is the first in a series as our region’s leaders collaborate to create yet another major outdoor tourism attraction. The Knox/Blount Greenway will be something special. How many cities can boast a bicycle route to the Great Smoky Mountains from the heart of their downtown?”

The City’s two-mile greenway section follows the shore of the Tennessee River for most of its route and passes the University of Tennessee Practice Golf Course and the Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus.

It connects north via the J.E. “Buck” Karnes Bridge to the Neyland Greenway across the river, bringing the total network of connected downtown greenways to 18 miles.

Knox Blount GreenwayThe project cost roughly $1.65 million and was funded through a Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Enhancement Grant of $1.45 million (including a City match of $330,000) and a supplemental TDOT Alternatives Grant (through the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization) of $200,000. 

Mayor Rogero and City Parks and Recreation Director Joe Walsh praised the exemplary teamwork demonstrated by the federal, state and local agencies involved in planning and building the greenway.

For example, land easements were obtained from Knox County, TDOT, the University of Tennessee, the U.S. Department of the Navy and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

“I can think of no other recreation project that has required more collaboration between government agencies and partners than the Knox/Blount Greenway has,” Walsh said. “The careful planning on this project really paid off. This is one of our most picturesque greenways, and I think it will surprise many to discover the serene views that are available right off of Alcoa Highway.”

The City Engineering Department managed the project and handled much of the engineering design work, and Foundation Systems Engineering was hired to design several small greenway bridges. Southern Shores Development LLC was the construction contractor.

City Public Service Department crews recently completed horticulture work around the new trail. The University of Tennessee will provide maintenance for the Knox/Blount Greenway.

Next up: TDOT and Knox County are coordinating on three greenway sections that will be done as part of a project to widen Alcoa Highway.

The Great Smoky Mountains Regional Greenway Council has cultivated the “Knoxville to the Smokies” vision plan and is coordinating with the City of Knoxville, Knox County, Blount County, the City of Alcoa, the City of Maryville and the City of Townsend. Future pieces of the greenway will tie into the existing greenway systems in Maryville and Alcoa.

Click here to view a map of the finished section of the Knox/Blount Greenway.

For more information on the Knox/Blount Greenway and other City greenways, visit www.knoxvilletn.gov/greenways.

For more information on the “Knoxville to the Smokies” greenway vision plan, visit www.smokymountainsgreenways.org.