7, 2007 - Knoxville, Tenn. The Tennessee Department
of Transportation (TDOT) today announced the Church Avenue Bridge
in downtown Knoxville is now open to traffic. In a ribbon cutting
ceremony, state and local officials opened the new bridge that spans
James White Parkway and Central Avenue. The previous bridge, built
in 1926, was demolished in December 2006.
The new Church Avenue Bridge has two lanes of traffic with 31 spaces
of metered public parking on the south side, a seven-foot sidewalk
on either side and a bike path on the north side. The structure
includes new decorative lighting and concrete railings which are
similar in design to the original bridge. Approximately 3,200 motorists
used the 81-year-old Church Street Bridge each day before its demolition.
The new Church Avenue Bridge is a beautiful addition to downtown
Knoxville and is a much better structure than the old bridge. It
will serve motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists well into the future,
said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely.
The Church Avenue Bridge was added to the SmartFIX40 project at
the request of the City of Knoxville to take advantage of nearby
road closures and to achieve cost efficiency.
The bridge is an important link in and out of downtown and
we are very pleased the bridge will be opened to traffic before
the first home UT football game, said Knoxville Mayor Bill
Haslam. This bridge can accommodate many modes of transportation,
not just vehicles. Its exciting that pedestrians, bicycles
and cars all will have designated travel lanes on the bridge.
SmartFIX40 is TDOTs single most expensive, one time construction
project in its 90-year history. Broken into two separate construction
contracts, SmartFIX40 has a price tag of approximately $190 million.
SmartFIX40 is an accelerated construction process used by the department
to speed up highway construction. The process involves closing the
primary roadway to allow around-the-clock work that is uninterrupted
by traffic in order to dramatically shorten the time it takes to
complete the project, thereby reducing the long-term inconvenience
to motorists. The SmartFIX40 project will save over two years of