|April 13, 2009 - The 100 Block of Gay Street will be closed beginning April 20, for roughly the next 12 months as contractors begin reconstruction of the street and sidewalks.
The closing marks the beginning of the major phase of the $3.5 million Gay Street Streetscapes Project for the 100 and 200 blocks of Gay. The work also includes improvements of the electrical infrastructure on those two blocks as well as surface level improvements like wider sidewalks and features like trees, street furniture and bike racks.
Southern Constructors Inc., a Knoxville-based company, is the contractor for what is expected to be an 18-month-long effort.
The contract calls for the renovations to cause as little disruption as possible and businesses and residences on the block will always be accessible to foot traffic.
There will, however, be some distractions, including noise and probably dust, as workers begin to remove the asphalt.
“The next phase of construction is critical to the project and is also, unfortunately, the most likely to create concerns for the owners and tenants in the 100 block,” said Rick Emmett, the city’s urban growth manager. “We plan to work closely with owners, tenants, and the contractors to minimize disruptions as best we can, while insuring that the required work is accomplished as quickly as possible.”
The City is holding a public meeting Monday, April 13, to update residents on the status of the construction. It is set for 5 p.m. at the Knoxville Chamber.
Sidewalk replacement is expected to begin within a few weeks and will proceed in short sections down the block. Currently the contractor anticipates beginning that phase near the Volunteer Ministry building on the corner of Jackson and Gay Streets and working south, or back toward downtown.
The 100 Block was raised more than a story above the original street in 1919 and sits atop a bridge-like support structure. This is the first major maintenance work on the street since it was raised.