August 16th , 2012 11:03 am Leave a comment

Direct Line: Weeds, stacked railroad ties along Tweetsie Trail are visible to motorists traveling in Elizabethton

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Q. Who is responsible to mow the weeds along the Tweetsie Trail railroad line that was purchased by the city of Johnson City? Sometime ago, didn’t the City of Elizabethton require the railroad to cut the weeds? Is the railroad still responsible to mow the weeds until the rails and ties are removed? When will the railroad ties be removed that are now stacked up along the rights-of-way? 

Photo by Brandon Hicks
This photo of the Tweetsie Trail railroad line rights-of-way was taken along W. Elk Avenue in Elizabethton. The city of Johnson City purchased the rail line from the East Tennessee Railway Company in June of 2011.

A. “The city of Johnson City is the responsible party for the railroad right-of-way — this includes maintenance such as trimming weeds and grass,” said Jon Hartman, director of planning for the City of Elizabethton.

Once the City of Johnson City purchased the railroad rights-of-way, the East Tennessee Railway Company was given two years from the date of the signed contract to remove all railroad ties and rails, according to Hartman. Representatives from the City of Johnson City and East Tennessee Railway LP signed a purchase contract on June 27, 2011. That contract gave the City of Johnson City ownership of the 10-mile rail line from Alabama Street in Johnson City to State Line Road in Elizabethton.

Prior to the purchase, the City of Elizabethton required the East Tennessee Railway Company to trim and cut grass and weeds on railroad rights-of-way within the city limits. East Tennessee Railway Company was brought before Elizabethton City Court on Feb. 19, 2009 to answer for 64 violations of city code. An agreement was reached during that hearing between the City of Elizabethton and the East Tennessee Railway Company to trim and cut grass and weeds within the right-of-way.

“The City of Elizabethton staff will work with the City of Johnson City to enforce city codes as they would other property owners,” Hartman said.

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Submit questions to Direct Line, telephone 297-9066, or send an e-mail to directline@ starhq.com. Include your name and telephone number, for verification purposes, which will not be published. 

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