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Building Better Connectivity: It's the Summer of Sidewalks, Bridges and Greenways 
Enhancing the health and connectivity of neighborhoods is a core principle of Mayor Indya Kincannon's administration.

Two complementary Engineering projects in North Knoxville illustrate how the City can strategically invest in infrastructure to resolve seemingly irreconcilable conflicts between motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. (More on that a little further down in this post.)

Try and praise an engineer for a #KnoxvilleJobWellDone, and he or she will tell you it's just what they do - what they're supposed to do.

But all modesty aside, this is the summer of sidewalks, bridges and greenways. New or improved infrastructure throughout the city is giving us new options for commuting. With intentionality and resources, several long-standing transportation barriers are being eliminated. And two bridges are being made safer because of City funding.

Here's a partial list of some of the projects recently finished, underway or about to kick off that are building healthier and better-connected neighborhoods:

North Knoxville - a bridge and a sidewalk

The City is investing $2.8 million to make a big part of North Knoxville walkable, bikeable and safer. 

First, in June, within budget and slightly ahead of schedule, the City’s new $1.2 million Mineral Springs Avenue bridge and sidewalk opened. The new 68-foot-long concrete bridge, between North Broadway and Walker Boulevard in North Knoxville, replaced a shorter, smaller bridge constructed 111 years earlier.

The new bridge was designed to reduce First Creek flooding, but the project also enhanced walkability. There’s a new sidewalk connecting Broadway and Walker Boulevard, plus about 350 linear feet of a new 10-foot-wide greenway connector.

The new Mineral Springs Avenue bridge opened within budget and on time in June 2021.

But on the west side of Broadway, directly across from Mineral Springs Avenue, the City later this summer will start building or improving 3,800 linear feet of sidewalk on Old Broadway.

The $1.6 million Old Broadway sidewalks are an important link, because the new pedestrian pathway will be a safe detour around the dense traffic hub where Broadway and Interstate 640 intersect.

The new sidewalks will tie in directly into Broadway and connect at Mineral Springs Avenue. So southbound pedestrians and bicyclists on Old Broadway can cross Broadway at Mineral Springs and more safely access destinations to the east of Broadway, and vice versa.

It's a local connectivity for North Knoxville families that's been lacking for the more than 40 years since I-640 was constructed. The sidewalks will connect Fountain City to the neighborhoods south of Sharps Ridge and separate users from the heavily traveled interchange of Broadway at I-640.

To see more before and after photos of the Mineral Springs Avenue bridge, click HERE. For more details and a map about the Old Broadway sidewalks project, click HERE.

Northwest Greenway Connector

Construction began this month on the $1.6 million Northwest Greenway Connector, which will connect Victor Ashe Park and the state-funded $3 million pedestrian bridge spanning Western Avenue at Ball Camp Pike.

When completed in spring 2022, the Northwest Greenway Connector will link the 8.9 miles of connected pedestrian options (greenways and sidewalks) around the park with another 7.2-mile network of sidewalks on Western Avenue and Schaad Road.

The half-mile connector creates new options for hundreds of families to walk or bike to reach the park, or workplaces, schools, churches and other destinations.

Click HERE to see a map showing the route of the greenway connector.

Crews install erosion prevention and sediment controls on Ball Camp Pike as part of the Northwest Greenway Connector construction.

The next leg of the project - extending the greenway southward to Middlebrook Pike and the Third Creek Greenway - is fully funded and already in the design stage. Look for construction on Phase II to begin in 2024.

Making 2 bridges safer

In July, the City began work to repair the approaches and joints of two bridges - the span on Woodland Avenue over Davanna Street, near Interstate 275, and the Boyds Bridge Pike bridge over the Holston River in East Knoxville. For details, click HERE and HERE.

Lanes are closed on each of the bridges, but they are expected to fully reopen in September.

More sidewalks

At its July 27 meeting, City Council authorized Mayor Kincannon's administration to execute a $772,701 agreement with a contractor to construct new sidewalks on Coker Avenue between Nadine Street and Whittle Springs Road.

That soon will be followed by bidding and then construction of 3,000 linear feet of sidewalk on Atlantic Avenue between Broadway and Pershing Street.

Near the South Waterfront and Suttree Landing Park, improvements are being made to sections of Waterfront Drive, Langford Avenue, Dixie Street and Empire Street - drainage, curb, sidewalk and streetlight upgrades. 

Other projects to go out for bids later this year or in early 2022:

- The Kingston Pike Complete Connections Project, which aims to address gaps in the sidewalk network, widen the shoulders for bicyclists in the pinch points between Wesley Road and Golfclub Road, and provide better connections at KAT bus stops

- A new Lancaster Drive sidewalk, between Tilson Street and Sevierville Pike

- The Liberty Street Multimodal Project, which will create a bicycle and pedestrian connection between Middlebrook Pike and Sutherland Avenue
Posted by evreeland On 29 July, 2021 at 9:43 PM