Cumberland Avenue Construction Timeline Topic of April 2 Public Meeting

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Cumberland Avenue Construction Timeline Topic of April 2 Public Meeting

Posted: 03/26/2015
Cumberland Ave. Corridor ProjectWith construction of the City of Knoxville's Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project getting underway, utility-related construction will begin on April 6. A public meeting next week will provide an overview of the entire Cumberland Avenue Corridor construction schedule during the next two years. 

The public meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, at the University of Tennessee Visitors Center, 2712 Neyland Drive. City staff will be there, along with representatives from the contractors, KUB and engineering consultants Vaughn & Melton, to discuss the construction timeline and traffic control plans. 

The Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project is a 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 to create a more attractive, pedestrian-friendly corridor. 

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

Construction will proceed in two phases, with Phase I to be completed by the end of 2015 and Phase II scheduled for completion in August 2017. See the detailed timeline for Phase I below. 

One lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained during construction, with the exception of a single weekend closure at the railroad crossing and a six-week period when eastbound traffic will be blocked between University Commons and West Volunteer Boulevard. Turns onto side streets will be blocked on a rolling basis, and mid-block left turns will not be possible on blocks under construction. To avoid delays, drivers are encouraged to use alternative routes. 

"We know this construction will be disruptive to traffic and local businesses and residents," said Anne Wallace, Project Manager for the City of Knoxville's Office of Redevelopment. "We promise to work diligently throughout the process to provide updated information, answer questions and mitigate the effects as much as possible. The result will be a Cumberland Avenue Corridor that looks better and works better for everybody." 

Signed detours will direct through traffic around the corridor during construction. 

Specific detours for local traffic will change as construction moves from west to east, but in general: 

* For access to the UT campus and other areas south of Cumberland Avenue, the best route will be to take Neyland Drive to Joe Johnson Drive and proceed east from there;

* For access to the Fort Sanders neighborhood, including Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and East Tennessee Children's Hospital, the best route will be Alcoa Highway north to I-40 and the 17th Street exit. 


* April 6 - June 6, 2015: KUB utility work in westbound lanes of Cumberland Avenue and portions of side streets between West Volunteer Boulevard and 22nd Street. Lane closures will run from West Volunteer Boulevard to 21st Street to allow for a one-block tapering of traffic. One lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction, shifted into the existing eastbound lanes. 

* June 8, 2015: Construction begins on section of Cumberland Avenue from Alcoa Highway to West Volunteer Boulevard. This includes the installation of a new 42-inch storm sewer pipe, which will require a six-week closure of eastbound lanes from University Commons to West Volunteer Boulevard. That closure will begin no earlier than June 8, with work completed no later than July 31. KUB will be moving to this location for utility upgrades while the City has this area closed. Utility work will continue heading eastward to 17th Street, with street, sidewalk and median construction following behind it for the remainder of the project. During this period, one westbound lane of traffic will be maintained (except for one complete weekend closure to rebuild the railroad crossing), but there will be no left turns onto Cumberland from West Volunteer Boulevard. 

* August-December 2015: Street and sidewalk construction continue between Alcoa Highway and 22nd Street, starting with the westbound lanes and then shifting to the eastbound lanes. One lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction, but the lanes will shift as needed to accommodate construction. 

Once Phase I work is complete, full traffic access will be restored from 22nd Street west. Phase II work, moving eastward from 22nd Street to 17th Street, is scheduled to begin by Dec. 1, 2015. The full project is scheduled for completion by Aug. 31, 2017.