Friday, June 12, 2015

June 11th Update

City of Knoxville Update


                Starting Monday, motorists will be seeing more orange barrels around the Cumberland Avenue Corridor. But for those eager for a quicker commute through the City’s reconstruction zone, these barrels signal an improvement that’s coming soon.

                Crews with the City’s contractor, Southern Constructors, will be reworking the traffic flow on streets feeding into the eastern end of Cumberland Avenue. Four streets will be converted from one-way to two-way traffic – 18th, 19th, Mountcastle and 21st Street – between Lake and White avenues. (There is already two-way traffic on 20th Street.)

Orange barrels will go up over the next two weeks as a safety measure to allow drivers to become accustomed to the new traffic patterns while lanes are restriped and other steps are taken to assure a safe change-over from one-way to two-way traffic.

“Changing the traffic pattern will make it easier for motorists to get to a particular business,” said Anne Wallace, Project Manager for the City of Knoxville’s Office of Redevelopment. “Merchants in the corridor are accessible, and eliminating these one-way streets gives drivers new options to more quickly reach their destinations.

“The two-way streets will remain in place even after the reconstruction is finished. In fact, the new traffic pattern was planned for in the reconstruction. Once this two-year project is completed, the result will be a Cumberland Avenue Corridor that is safer, looks better and works better for everybody.”

The Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project is a $17 million City of Knoxville initiative to redesign Cumberland Avenue from Alcoa Highway east to 17th Street, changing the existing four-lane street to a three-lane cross section with a raised median and left-turn lanes at intersections. Sidewalks will be widened and landscaped, and utility lines relocated, to create a more attractive, pedestrian-friendly corridor.

Construction is proceeding in two phases, with Phase I (from Alcoa Highway to 22nd Street) to be completed by the end of 2015, and Phase II (from 22nd Street to just east of 17th Street) to follow, with completion in August 2017.

                The upcoming changes in the traffic flow on the eastern end of Cumberland Avenue coincide with work already underway for the Phase II utility reconstruction. Currently, Cumberland Avenue has one lane open in each direction between 19th and 22nd streets as KUB performs Phase II utility upgrades.

                Phase I work on the western end continues, with all eastbound lanes of Cumberland Avenue between University Commons and West Volunteer Boulevard closed due to storm water line installation.

                “Even with the lanes closures, Cumberland Avenue merchants remain accessible,” Wallace emphasizes. “Visitors to shops and restaurants can also access Cumberland businesses using Free Fare KAT bus service. Routes 10, 11 and 17 are all free from Gay Street to Cumberland.”

Free public parking on weekends and after 6 p.m. weekdays is available in the Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center lot at 19th Street and White Avenue and in the UT Federal Credit Union lot at 22nd Street and White Avenue.

Throughout the project, road closures and construction updates will be available on, along with the Cumberland Connection blog ( and a Facebook page at

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