Just one week after the Mississippi Department of Transportation announced it was releasing a $4.5 million grant to help complete the proposed Tanglefoot Trail, a construction crew was on site Thursday morning to begin work.
Crew members were hard at work Thursday morning removing railroad ties from the former Tennessee-Railnet. The trail, which is set to run some 43 miles from New Albany to Houston, will replace the railroad. The project will consist of establishing a multi-purpose public trail for the use of pedestrians and cyclists.
MDOT Executive Director, Larry L. “Butch” Brown made the announcement last week, following applications from Three Rivers Planning and Development for the funds needed to pay for the project. In 2008, the The GM&O Rails to Trails Recreational District received a $5.4 million grant, but was approximately $4 million short of the needed funds.
The district consists of three counties – Union, Pontotoc and Chickasaw – as well as the cities of New Albany, Ecru, Pontotoc, Algoma, Houlka and Houston. Each of these entities have agreed to participate in the project’s funding.
According to Brown, the trail will be constructed of asphalt, two inches in depth and 10 feet wide, with a three foot shoulder on either side with parallel ditches and cross drainage structures.
“Reinforcement, consisting of asphalt or concrete, along with railing, will be added to approximately 30 bridges which average one hundred and twenty 120 feet in length,” Brown said.
Local community and government leaders became interested in the project in 2006 and formed the GM&O District that year, with the purpose of making the project a reality.