By Michael Williams
The cities of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, along with the Sevier County Utility District and Blalock and Sons, were awarded more than $700,000 through the Tennessee Department of Transportation for several clean air projects.
The air quality grants are funded via the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program. Sevierville, along with project partner Pigeon Forge, will receive $445,750; Gatlinburg will receive $188,000; and SCUD, along with project partner Blalock and Sons, will receive $103,200.
The grants awarded to the city of Sevierville and partner city Pigeon Forge is designated for a Traffic Flow Improvement Project which will include implementation of a Traffic Responsive Signal System, upgrading and retiming of forty-one signalized intersections along sixteen-miles of the Great Smoky Mountains Parkway which includes I-40 exit 407 to SR66/US441 intersection. The project will improve air quality by reducing traffic delays and vehicle idling.
The city of Gatlinburg has earmarked the grant money to replace an existing 2003 diesel-powered trolley with a new CNG trolley to transport visitors in the Gatlinburg area. Gatlinburg will also contribute $47,000 to the project.
SCUD and project partner Blalock and Sons applied for the grant with the intentions to replace five diesel powered trucks with five new CNG trucks; convert one diesel powered dump truck to dual fuel and Blalock and Sons will replace a gasoline powered truck with a CNG truck.
SCUD will contribute $323,000 in new vehicles and Blalock and Sons will contribute $62,800 for a new vehicle purchase.