February 9, 2006 - The Tennessee Department
of Transportation (TDOT) announced Thursday that the Summit Hill Bridge
and entrance ramp from James White Parkway will close February 21.
The bridge will be closed for eight months with the ramp remaining
closed into the James White Parkway phase of construction, which will
be approximately September of 2007.
"This is an important step for the Hall of Fame Drive phase
of the SmartFIX40 project. The closure will allow the contractor
to expedite the construction of the new bridge which must be completed
by November," said TDOT Chief Engineer Paul Degges.
Bill Haslam joined Degges at a Thursday news conference announcing
"TDOT and the City are working together to minimize the disruption
to motorists by providing additional signs and detours into downtown,
the Old City and Civic Coliseum," Mayor Haslam. "TDOT
and its contractor know that it's important this project be done
right and on time, and although we may be inconvenienced at times,
this project will ultimately greatly improve the safety of the interstate
through the city of Knoxville."
The demolition and reconstruction of the bridge will provide the
additional space necessary to widen James White Parkway, which is
underneath the structure. The bridge will also be widened from three
to six lanes.
The Summit Hill Bridge carries an average 15,000 vehicles per day
with the entrance ramp from James White Parkway averaging 6,300
vehicles per day.
A detour will be posted in order to direct motorists around the
closure as well as into and out of downtown and the Old City. Bridge detour- Take Central Street to Willow Avenue to
The detour will be as follows:
To downtown- From James White Parkway take the Cumberland
Avenue exit to Gay Street to Summit Hill Drive.
From downtown- Take Summit Hill Drive to Locust Street
to Clinch Avenue to Henley Street to access the tunnel and any direction
of the Interstate.
SmartFIX40 is an accelerated construction process used by the department
to speed up construction. It involves completely closing the roadway
to allow around-the-clock work that is uninterrupted by traffic
in order to dramatically reduce the time it takes to complete the
project, thereby reducing the long-term inconveniences to drivers.
During the SmartFIX40 project, James White Parkway will be closed
for nine months in 2007, and I-40 through traffic will be rerouted
onto I-640 for 14 months starting in the spring of 2008. Local traffic
will have access to downtown at all times. More than two years of
traffic delays, lane closures and motorist frustrations will be
avoided by allowing construction crews the opportunity to work without
restriction from moving traffic while traffic is rerouted from I-40.
I-40 through downtown Knoxville carries an average of 103,000 vehicles