14, 2006 - Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT)
officials and local leaders cut the ribbon on the new Hall of Fame
Drive Thursday, December 14 officially opening the roadway to traffic.
The 1.2 mile stretch of road between Summit Hill Drive and Broadway
and I-40 will be one of the primary arteries for traveling downtown
from I-40 after the James White Parkway is closed for reconstruction
on December 17. The new five-lane Hall of Fame Drive includes new
sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping and two new bridges. Construction
began on Hall of Fame Drive in May 2005.
The Hall of Fame Drive Bridge that spans over Norfolk Southern
Railroad, Jackson Avenue and Willow Avenue includes four lanes plus
bike lanes. The new Knoxville Signature Bridge that
spans over I-40 includes five lanes. This bridge has decorative
lighting along the bridge rails, four 22-foot towers with lights
and will ultimately feature the word Knoxville in four-foot
tall letters affixed to the westbound side of the bridge.
The opening of Hall of Fame Drive represents a major milestone
in the SmartFIX40 road construction project, said Gerald Nicely,
Commissioner, TDOT. To maintain access to downtown Knoxville,
we had to complete Hall of Fame Drive before we could begin demolition
and reconstruction of the James White Parkway.
Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam said that the new Hall of Fame
Drive is a beautiful boulevard that dramatically improves traffic
flow and enhances the beauty of downtown Knoxville. I am pleased
with the progress of this major downtown construction project and
I know motorists will be pleased as well.
"Both city and county citizens can be proud of this new road.
Not only will it be safer for motorists traveling on Broadway to
get to downtown, the new signature bridge over I-40 will be a focal
point for visitors," added Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale.
"All the improvements being made as part of this massive project
will enhance the lives of everyone in Knox County."
"The Department of Transportation has done an excellent job
in getting this road open as quickly as possible to help alleviate
some of the traffic problems in this area," Senator Jamie Woodson
said. "Because of the new bike lane and sidewalks, Hall of
Fame Drive will make downtown more accessible for everyone, bikers
and walkers as well as motorists."
The section of I-40 through downtown Knoxville was built
in the 1960s and had become over-crowded and had one of the
worst safety records in the state, said Senator Tim Burchett.
Im pleased TDOT is taking on the major project of improving
this stretch of interstate. The opening of Hall of Fame Drive is
another step towards the ultimate goal of a safer and more efficient
transportation system downtown.
Representative Joe Armstrong added, Hall of Fame Drive will
now be a vital artery connecting downtown and the Magnolia Business
District, which will bring many new visitors and in turn a new life
and vitality to the area.
All Knoxvillians can be proud of the new Hall of Fame Drive
and the new signature entrance into downtown, said Representative
Harry Tindell. Im pleased that TDOT worked with local
communities to create such a signature structure for our city.
This construction is part of the SmartFix40 project currently underway
in downtown Knoxville. This accelerated construction process involves
completely closing a roadway to allow around-the-clock work uninterrupted
by traffic in order to dramatically reduce the time it takes to
complete the project, thereby reducing the long-term inconvenience
During the SmartFix40 project, James White Parkway will be closed
for nine months 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. Approximately
103,000 vehicles travel I-40 through downtown on a daily basis.