Council rejects bids for rails to trails study

Published 1:15 am Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Andalusia City Council on Tuesday rejected bids for environmental work on a rails to trails project from Andalusia to Opp.

Mayor Earl Johnson said the first step in the multi-year project is to do an environmental impact study.

“We have to have a contract with a qualified engineering company to conduct and carry out environmental work,” Johnson said. “We had one big, which we felt was excessive. With this resolution, we’ll reject this bid and re-bid the project.”

In December, the council agreed to provide the $100,000 match needed to move forward with a $400,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for the project.

Both Andalusia and Opp have been working for several years in hopes of collaborating with Forever Wild to to convert old railroad beds to multi-use trails. There are 43.8 miles of rail corridor between Andalusia and Geneva that could be used for this purpose.

Johnson said while that may one day be possible, a 16-mile trail from Andalusia to Opp is a good start.

“This will bring tourist dollars into our community,” he said. “And the people who travel for hiking and biking these trails, have money to spend.”