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Gatlinburg Trail
(Left to right) Nicholas Malone, Rebecca Bennet, Rebekah Kish and Kyle McMullen, all civil engineering seniors, review plans for a future Gatlinburg greenway they designed on March 8, 2019.

Five students in UT’s Tickle College of Engineering are designing a section of a three-mile Gatlinburg greenway that will run alongside Glades Road, just off Highway 321.

The team’s plan will enter the construction phase April 26. When complete, it will provide a safe path for pedestrians and bicyclists while linking two neighborhoods along a busy road.

After several site visits, seniors Kyle McMullen, Rebekah Kish, Rebecca Bennett, Corey Baldwin, and Nicholas Malone are currently designing the first quarter mile of the trail using computer-aided design and drafting software.

“So far, we have done some surveying work and we have laid out an alignment for the greenway route,” said Kyle McMullen, the team leader. “We are in the process of identifying materials for the surface of the greenway as well as designing an expanded entrance road to allow for both pedestrian and car use.”

The team also will design footbridges needed to cross a stream.

The work is part of the seniors’ capstone design course, which provides civil engineering students with real-world design challenges. Jennifer Retherford, professor of civil engineering, oversees the course.

Serving as design engineers for the project, the students will receive valuable experience doing actual civil engineering work and gain an understanding of what a career in design entails.

“This project has provided our team with an opportunity to practice our communication skills,” said Kyle McMullen, the student group’s team leader. “All members have gained experience in areas of report writing, drafting, and designing.”

Community partnerships, like this one with the Gatlinburg Greenway Project, the nonprofit planning the greenway, help bring engineering concepts out of the classroom and provide tangible results.

“These projects help us get an idea of the work we will actually be performing in the workforce,” McMullen said. “Senior design also gives us an opportunity to put together many of the things we have learned in various classes over four years all into one project.”

Past capstone project partners include the cities of Alcoa and Maryville, as well as the Tennessee Department of Transportation and Department of Education.

CONTACT:

Megan Boehnke (865-974-3242, mboehnke@utk.edu)

William Wells (wrw@vols.utk.edu)