Office of Environmental Management

Oak Ridge Site’s Barge Area Presents Opportunities for Industry

October 17, 2017

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UniTech equipment transported from Michigan is unloaded at the barge access area at the East Tennessee Technology Park.
UniTech equipment transported from Michigan is unloaded at the barge access area at the East Tennessee Technology Park.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – Reindustrialization efforts at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) have brought new life to an old barge access area out of service for decades.

   As DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) cleans and converts the former uranium enrichment complex into a private sector industrial park, companies are seeing significant signs of progress and potential. 

   In September, UniTech Services Group, a private business at ETTP, needed to transport large industrial equipment from Michigan, and noted the site’s neglected barge area. The company worked with DOE and the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee to use this area, and successfully shipped the equipment to ETTP using the Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee navigable river systems.  

   Before the shipment arrived, Unitech contracted with the company Barnhart Crane to prepare the barge area for its first use by the private sector. Workers cleared overgrown brush, stabilized the shore, and reinforced the retaining wall in the Clinch River. 

The Clinch River, which connects to the Tennessee River, runs along the west side of the East Tennessee Technology Park.
The Clinch River, which connects to the Tennessee River, runs along the west side of the East Tennessee Technology Park.

   “This project, which was led by a private business, to refurbish and use ETTP’s barge area, highlights our vision and ultimate goal for the site,” said OREM Acting Manager Jay Mullis. “We are seeing industry utilize the offerings at the site and use them to benefit their business. In time, we believe the infrastructure, land, and features at the site will attract more industry to locate at ETTP.”

   Although the barge area is owned by DOE, no taxpayer dollars were used to refurbish it. It will be available for use by businesses as ETTP transitions to private ownership.

   OREM is working to complete major cleanup and facility and land transfers at ETTP by 2020. This will provide the community an asset to attract major industry, build the tax base, and supplement employment declines resulting from the site’s changing missions.  

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