FOCUS: $8 million Second Street revitalization project begins

The corridor from West Second Street to East Main Street will be made safer for pedestrians and cyclists and more attractive to investors through the TIGER grant. (Image provided)

A Frankfort Plant Board crew uncovered a more than 100-year-old trolley line that blocked the crew’s work on fitting a new water line on the Second Street stretch of South Frankfort.

“This old rail bed conflicts with the location of the new water line,” said Chuck Knowles, the city’s TIGER Grant project manager. “After discussions involving FPB, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), environmental staff, the State Historic Preservation Office, Strand Associates and the city, it has been decided that FPB would repair any Second Street pavement damages and remove their crews and equipment from the project.”

Consultations with the Transportation Cabinet and other parties led Knowles to the conclusion that the best thing to do with what's left of the trolley line is to dispose of it.

"As for the old trolley rail bed itself, the State Historic Preservation Office and KYTC environmental staff agree that there is little integrity left," Knowles said. "The rail bed materials themselves are not hazardous, so they will be removed and disposed."

Knowles said that the discovery should not change the street project’s expected start and end dates: January 2021 and August 2022.

He did say, though, that the trolley line hidden beneath Second Street will affect the way work will proceed. Since the trolley line goes down the middle of the road, crews will likely close off both lanes along Second Street and work on just a couple of blocks at a time, Knowles said.

The change in process could potentially lead to cost savings, according to Knowles.

The current parameters of the $8 million project are West Second Street from Taylor Avenue to Capital Avenue and then on Capital Avenue across the river to the East Main Street intersection.

According to old documents that Knowles has reviewed, the trolley line suspended service in 1934 and likely extends east all the way to Murray or Logan Street.

The city will start advertising for bids Friday, open bids at the end of the month, and projects having an executed contract sometime in December.

In addition to there being no change in the project’s scheduled completion, Knowles said that he anticipates no financial change due to the trolley line discovery.

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