CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Law enforcement is working to address safety concerns ahead of a state funded Tweetsie Trail expansion into Carter County.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s budget included $6.3 million that would go toward expanding the trail further into Carter County. A state-of-the-art bike park is also included in those funds.
Although the expansion is not expected to be complete until 2025, Carter County Sheriff Mike Fraley said his office is working to get ahead of the curve in terms of patrolling the trail.
“We want to be proactive,” Fraley said. “We want people to see officers out there and we’re formulating a plan of what it would cost.”
The trail will be expanded from its existing end-point to existing mountain biking trails at the base of Cedar Mountain in Hampton.
Much of that expansion is in fairly rural areas of the county. Fraley said the main concern is the ability to patrol rural areas on the trail that patrol cars cannot reach.
He said that they may explore adding utility vehicles that could navigate the trail easier and more efficiently.
“It’s a first responder edition that you can effectively patrol and into these places that a police car won’t,” Fraley said.
Fraley said there’s a possibility that paid overtime may be offered to deputies to patrol that area.
Dozens of bikers and hikers travel on the Tweetsie Trail everyday. Johnson City resident Lydia McCord said she’s walks up and down the trail with her family on a weekly basis. She said it’s good to know that local officials are working to continue to keep the trail safe.
“It’s one of our favorite places to walk because there’s so many people, and my daughter loves looking at the bikers and the dogs,” McCord said.
Fraley said that they’re doing everything that they can to continue to keep the trail safe.