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Engineering Inspector: 'There Was a Purpose, and a Need' 
Every day, Engineering Department Inspector Randy Williams is out on a job site somewhere, doing a lot of measuring, testing and checking.

It's exacting and sometimes tedious work. But he says his role as part of the team that designed and oversaw the construction of the 2,000-foot-long sidewalk on Coker Avenue was "more fun" than he's had in a while.

Why? It was all about the interaction with the residents, he says - and the purpose of the project.

Engineering Department Inspector Randy Williams"This project gave kids a safe place to walk to school," says Williams, a 20-year City employee. "There was a purpose, and a need. Before, these children had to just walk down a busy street."

Belle Morris Elementary School educators say more than half the school's students get to and from school by walking.

The City invested $791,441 to build this "missing link" sidewalk on Coker Avenue between Nadine Street and Whittle Springs Road, connecting to existing sidewalks around Belle Morris Elementary. 

City Engineering designed the sidewalk. Then the team - Williams, technicians, surveyors and designers - finessed the plan as needed to maximize the benefit to the residents who would be using the sidewalk.

That meant dealing with elevation changes, and the unique connections that differed from house to house. Some homes had front driveways; others had walk-ups in the front, parking in the back. 

Here's a photo of one of the walk-up tie-ins, in which three steps were built to address the slope:

Steps were constructed where needed to connect residents' homes to the new Coker Avenue sidewalk.

To serve a homeowner who uses a wheelchair, a ramp was built instead of steps. Ensuring accessibility, Williams says, is something that Engineering values highly.

"We started with a design - a road map," Williams says. "Then I become the eyes and ears for the engineers. When any of us see something that can be made better, we bring it to the team's attention. And we work together as a team. We make it work in the field when the design needs some minor changes."

This week is National Public Works Week, and City Blog is profiling a few of the front-line City employees, like Williams, who do their best to help Knoxville function more safely and smoothly. #KnoxvilleJobWellDone

Williams, who lives on a Loudon County farm that his family has owned since 1942, emphasizes the results of the Engineering Department's team philosophy.

"Each of us plays an incremental role," he says. "Each of us carefully does our part as best we can do it. If we didn't do it that way, then we wouldn't be successful."
Posted by evreeland On 18 May, 2022 at 1:05 PM