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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
City Seeks Firms for Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge RFQ
RFQ- South Waterfront Pedestrian / Bicycle Bridge Project [PDF]
RFQ Addendum 1 [PDF]
RFQ Addendum 2 [PDF]
March 15, 2010 - The City of Knoxville is seeking three engineering firms to compete for the contract to design a pedestrian/bicycle bridge that will span the Tennessee River from the South Waterfront to the University of Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena.

The city recently issued a request for qualifications from companies interested in being selected as one of the three firms that will submit their designs for the new bridge as part of the competitive process to win the contract.

The move is the first step in turning the proposed bridge into a concrete reality.

“This is just the beginning of a lot of work that will have to be done to complete the bridge,” said Mayor Bill Haslam. “This project will require patience and strong communications to satisfy all the permitting requirements and to address the concerns of affected property owners and the other government agencies that are involved.”

Those agencies range from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, the Federal Highway Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

“So it’s important that we start the design work and permitting process now so that as the economy improves the bridge will be ready for construction when the market for redevelopment begins to reemerge,” he added.

The city also announced that funding for bridge construction may be available through a $7.2 million federal grant - including city matching funds - it has already obtained for transportation improvements in the South Waterfront area. The design phase will be paid for with a $533,000 federal grant Knoxville was awarded in 2008 along with a $133,000 city match.

The bridge, which is included in the adopted 2006 South Waterfront Vision Plan, will enhance the greenways on the north side of the river and provide a critical linkage to the planned three-mile long Riverwalk on the south side of the river and to ridgeline areas being opened for public use by the Legacy Parks Foundation. It will also help create a market for redevelopment in the South Waterfront.

The bridge landings will be located at Clancy Avenue near Scottish Pike on the south side of the river and at the upper level pedestrian concourse between Thompson-Boling Arena and Pratt Pavilion on the north side.

Consultant firms interested in being selected to complete the necessary design; civil engineering and environmental permitting work for the new bridge have to submit qualifications to the city by April 2, 2010. The selection process will be completed in August and City Council would be asked to approve the contract for the services.

Completion of the design and permitting process is expected to take two to three years.

A Bridge Working Group has been established to coordinate discussion and review of the project. The group includes representatives from TVA, the City of Knoxville, UT, the Tennessee Department of Transportation and South Waterfront area property owners. The group will host some public meetings about the project.

“We’ve received a lot interest and cooperation already,” said Dave Hill, the city’s senior director for South Waterfront Development, “and we’re particularly appreciative to UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and his staff for their willingness to be a project partner.”

The Federal Highways Administration recently indicated that the city can use the $7.2 million transportation improvements grant for bridge construction. The funds include $6 million in federal funding and $1.2 million in city funding, and cannot be contractually committed to the project until the design is complete and all the permits are obtained.

“We believe that the city has the majority of the funding needed to construct the bridge available right now,” Hill said. “I think it’s prudent to wait and see if the design process moves ahead on schedule before making a decision on construction funding. If we see an interest in private development near the bridge on the south side of the river that would certainly make a big difference in our decision-making.”
For Immediate Release
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