'Sidewalk to nowhere' sits empty in DeKalb County - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

'Sidewalk to nowhere' sits empty in DeKalb County

SMITHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A stretch of sidewalk in rural DeKalb County doesn't lead anywhere, no one ever uses it and - at times - it just suddenly stops. Not only that, the project along the newly expanded Highway 70 cost taxpayers more than $160,000.

Construction worker Danny Henry said he always passes by the empty sidewalk as he travels along Highway 70.

"Drive it every day," Henry said. "Never see people walking."

So Henry called the Channel 4 I-Team to find out why Tennesseans' tax dollars paid for what he calls the "sidewalk to nowhere."

"Nobody's going to use that. It's a waste of time. It's a waste of money," he said.

The two-mile long sidewalk sits between the community of Dowelltown, with a population of 355, and Liberty, with a population of 367.

"It's a waste of money for what they've done," Henry said.

There are no schools and no shopping areas near the sidewalk, and an abandoned building may have once been the only business in the area.

The only attraction you might see is the famous Liberty Mule mural on the side of a rocky cliff.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation said the final price tag was $162,747.

"Our goal is always connectivity," said TDOT representative B.J. Doughty. "If you'll notice, all over the state, there are sidewalks that don't connect. Part of the reason for that is that sidewalks are very expensive to install."

TDOT said they wouldn't have just put in sidewalks on their own. The project came as a kind of bonus when they widened the highway.

While they don't have any paperwork to show that local officials asked for it when it was proposed in the mid 1990s, TDOT is certain local authorities were advised.

"The community is going to take advantage of that opportunity, even if it means it could be the future when the sidewalks will actually connect to something," Doughty said.

In the meantime, visit DeKalb County if you want to take a walk. And if you do, wave to Henry as he drives by, because he'd like to see somebody actually use it.

"They're wasting money on pouring concrete that no one's ever going to use," he said.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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