Hickory City Council voted to accept a $17 million federal grant and award a $1.9 million contract for construction of biking and pedestrian projects in northwest Hickory.

The vote took place at a special meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The council voted to accept the grant as part of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Grant funds will be administered through the department of transportation. As part of the agreement, the city agrees to spend at least $4.7 million on the project.

The project includes a biking and pedestrian loop connecting Ninth Street NW and Old Lenoir Road and a trail and pedestrian bridge across U.S. 321.

After accepting the grant, the city council awarded a $1.9 million design contract for the project to TGS Engineers. Public Services Director Kevin Greer said the cost would be covered by the city and grant funds.

Both votes were unanimous. Councilwoman Jill Patton was not present for the meeting.

Greer said construction on the project is slated to begin in June 2021.

The city learned in December 2018 that it had received the $17 million through the federal BUILD Grant program.

2018 was the fourth year the city had applied for the grant — which was previously known as the TIGER Grant — and the first time the city received funding.

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Kevin Griffin is the City of Hickory reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.

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