City Looking for Bids on Sidewalk Improvement Project

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City Looking for Bids on Sidewalk Improvement Project

Posted: 07/30/2010
The City of Knoxville will begin advertising this weekend for bids on a sidewalk improvement project for portions of Market Street and Union Avenue in downtown.

The request for bids from the city's Engineering Department will be out on Sunday, August 1. The bids will be opened at 11 a.m. on August 25, and the contract will be awarded to the winning firm as soon as is practicable.

The work involves improvements to sections of sidewalk on Market Street between Cumberland Avenue and Church Street and on Union Avenue between Gay Street and Market Street. The city hired Hedstrom Design, a Knoxville landscape architecture firm, in early 2009 to develop a plan to upgrade those two sections and held a public meeting late last year to get some input on the proposed design.

Both sections of sidewalk are short but are also important because they serve as entrances to Market Square, the heart of downtown and scene of numerous public events ranging from Sundown in the City concerts to Christmas in the City and the Dogwood Arts Festival.

"We've wanted to renovate those sidewalks for some time," said Anne Wallace, with the city's Department of Policy & Communications. "These sections of sidewalks are in poor repair, with safety, accessibility and aesthetic issues; the proposed changes will fix those issues and create great gateways into Market Square."

On Market Street, in addition to the sidewalk work, the city plans to install pedestrian-scale lighting, trees with permeable pavers that will funnel rainwater to the trees, a new bench for the bus stop at Market and Cumberland Avenue, bike racks and three new parking spaces. The project will also increase the total square footage of the sidewalks increasing the useable area for pedestrians.

On Union Avenue the work will include significantly widening the total area of sidewalk to accommodate the heavy foot traffic at that location, installing new light fixtures consistent with the existing fixtures in that area, removing the brick sidewalk on the island on the south side of the street and maintaining all the existing parking spaces.

The original design for the Union improvements envisioned trees and new lighting on the north side of the street. Due to the location of underground utilities there, however, the city has chosen not to include those features because of the overall expense it would add to the project. It would more than double the estimated costs of construction.

"We are very excited to be moving forward with these improvements to key pedestrian corridors in our downtown and greatly appreciate the input and enthusiasm from citizens," said Wallace.