Gay Street Streetscapes Project Begins Feb. 16th

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Gay Street Streetscapes Project Begins Feb. 16th

Posted: 02/09/2009
The long-awaited Gay Street Streetscapes Project will begin in earnest on Monday, February 16, when contractors close the 200 Block of Gay Street to build large underground vaults for electrical equipment.

The closing marks the beginning of a roughly 18-month-long period when part of the 100 Block of Gay will be completely or partially closed as work on the $3.5 million major reconstruction of the block begins.

The effort - which involves the 100 and 200 Blocks of Gay from Jackson Avenue to Summit Hill Drive - includes the replacement of the street and both sidewalks. The City also plans major streetscape improvements like wider sidewalks and added features like trees, bike racks and street furniture.

Southern Constructors Inc., a Knoxville-based construction company, is doing the project. 
The 100 block was raised more than a story above the original street in 1919 and sits atop a bridge-like support structure. This is the first major maintenance work on the street since it was raised.

The contract calls for the project to be completed in 18 months. It also requires Southern Constructors to the work with as little disruption as possible. Businesses and residences on the block will always be accessible to foot traffic during the construction period.

The company scheduled the vault work first because - after studying the different ways the project could unfold - that might provide some benefits down the road. 
"Closing the 200 block of Gay Street at this time should result in less disruption over the entire length of the project," said Rick Emmett, the City of Knoxville's Urban Growth Manager, "and might result in the streetscapes project being completed a little sooner than projected."