City approves study for Jake Thomas Road extension

Mar. 13, 2013 @ 11:18 PM

The City Commission has taken a preliminary step toward extending Jake Thomas Road to Veterans Boulevard.

When it met Monday night, the commission approved a $53,500 agreement with the engineering firm CDM Smith to study the extension and estimate its cost.

"The intention is to extend a continuous road from the Parkway to Dollywood at Veterans Boulevard," CDM Smith vice president Bob Bowers told commissioners at the meeting. A stretch of Jake Thomas Road to the proposed Cal Ripken baseball site already is under construction.

In a March 1 letter to City Manager Earlene Teaster, Bowers and CDM Smith client service manager John Hunter wrote, "This road will serve as a new traffic connection through mostly undeveloped property in relatively steep terrain."

Developers have asked the city about the status of the Jake Thomas extension, Bowers said at the meeting.

Commissioner Randal Robinson asked how soon construction on the road would begin. "My concern is, is [the plan] outdated before we get to it?" he said.

"To be sure, this is not a detailed design," Bowers replied. "It's a traffic engineering study."

"We've already taken a step with the first phase of Jake Thomas," Mayor David Wear said. "The goal has always been to take it to Veterans. This is a good time, since we've had so many inquiries."

Commissioners approved the agreement unanimously.

In other business, commissioners approved:

- Outsourcing the city's utility billing

- Purchasing road striping services

- Using SkillPath Corporate Strategies for the Department of Tourism's Guest Excellence Program

- Purchasing Pepsi products for park concessions

- Purchasing five scoreboards for Wear Farm City Park

- A naming rights program for recreation facilities

- Purchasing 12,000 stackable chairs for LeConte Center, the city's new events facility

- Extending the completion date of Trolley Center construction to March 31

- Purchasing collection system CCTV equipment

kburns@themountainpress.com