The first phase of work on a key element to align Robinson Road across Hanna Road can begin to move forward following approval of just over $2 million at the Nov. 13 Oak Ridge North City Council meeting.

The estimate for work on the Union Pacific Railroad crossing includes elements such as installation of equipment, signal maintenance, installing a new crossing and cutting out the old crossing, according to information from the meeting. City officials have previously given February as a tentative starting date for the Robinson Road project.

The approval was "the moment we’ve been waiting for,” Mayor Paul Bond said at the meeting.

The backstory

On Oct. 9, the $7.42 million bid for the overall project was awarded, which will include concrete paving, widening the roadway and realigning the roadway. The preliminary estimate for the UPRR construction provided by railroad officials was $2,000,764 and is subject to negotiation, Bond said.

The next step will be a maintenance agreement, which will include an approximately $19,000-$20,000 annual maintenance fee to operate the crossing, Director of Public Works James Corn said.

Any time a new crossing is built there is a maintenance fee, Corn said.

“This is our starting point, council,” Bond said. “As we get into the negotiations it should be an interesting process.”

What's next

Following the conclusion of the project to realign the road, development of the city's Plaza District for commercial development north and south of Robinson Road can get underway, officials have said.