Economy Slows Intermodal Facility

The effort to locate a Norfolk Southern intermodal facility in New Market has cooled, slow freight traffic and the recession taking away much of the momentum. But even if the switch yard, which loads tractor trailer cargo onto train cars for transport, were to be built its footprint will be substantially reduced. The original plan, upon which a University of Tennessee study predicted jobs and prosperity, included hundreds of acres for a warehouse/industrial park. The plans for such an adjunct are in the crapper and the rosy predictions of economic nirvana, courtesy of UT, are moot.

Meanwhile, the Jefferson County Industrial Development Board is soliciting support from its County Commission to build a business park in Jefferson City, making it unlikely they would be able to pursue a second park in New Market.

Neighbors of the proposed intermodal facility have been pushing for Norfolk Southern to relocate the project to Greene County, where there is a location on the interstate that has a willing seller and the land is not the prime farm land that would be taken in New Market. The New Market site would require a major highway upgrade to accommodate truck traffic to the interstate (14 miles away) and the county would have to close road access to the neighboring peninsula on the Holston River and close railroad underpasses and construct an alternative road.

The extensive infrastructure on the county dime is unlikely without an industrial park component in the project.

Note: This is a longer version of the item that ran in the print edition, which was edited for space.