| February 19, 2009 -
Part, and sometimes all, of Summit Hill Drive will be closed to traffic during the early part of next week, February 23-26.
The closures are part of the ongoing Gay Street Streetscapes project to renovate the 100 and 200 Blocks of Gay Street. The project, which began earlier this month, is expected to take 18 months to complete.
The closures include:
The right hand lane of Summit Hill Drive westbound will be closed on Monday, February, 23, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.
All four lanes of Summit Hill will be closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 23-25, from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. the following morning.
The road closings are related to underground electrical work that involves building vaults for electrical equipment as well as a trench across Summit Hill at Gay Street.
Most of the work is being done at night in an attempt to minimize disruption in the area during business hours.
Southern Constructors Inc., a Knoxville-based construction company, is the lead contractor for this project. It presents some unique difficulties because the 100 Block of Gay Street was raised above the original street in 1919. Much of the work has to be done below ground and involves locating and moving outdated and hard to access utilities.
In this instance one of the underground vaults has to be constructed within a foot of Summit Hill Drive, the reason for the single lane closing during the day on Monday.
“This initial work by the contractor involves a little bit of discovery,” said Rick Emmett, the City of Knoxville’s Urban Growth Manager. “We are trying to be flexible in our scheduling to insure that the project gets completed in a timely manner while minimizing inconveniences to the public.”
The Gay Street Streetscapes Project involves the 100 and 200 Blocks of Gay from Jackson Avenue to Summit Hill Drive. It includes the replacement of the street and both sidewalks in addition to major streetscape improvements like wider sidewalks and added features like trees, bike racks and street furniture.
It is the first major maintenance work on the block, which sits atop a bridge-like support structure, since it was raised nearly a century ago.
The city and the contractor are trying to do the work with as little disruption to businesses and residents as possible. The sidewalks and Gay Street, up to the construction site at the 200 block remain open as well as the parking locations in that area.
For more information about the Gay Street 100 Block Project please go to www.cityofknoxville.org/policy/100block