|May 13, 2014 - A major University of Tennessee utility upgrade is underway that soon will close two lanes of Cumberland Avenue for roughly two months.
UT's steam line, which crosses Cumberland Avenue, is being upgraded. The university's steam plant provides heating and hot water for more than 150 buildings using about 11 miles of underground steam pipes.
Starting this week, Sevierville-based Adams and Sons Inc. will be relocating water, gas and sewer lines before the steam line work begins. The first phase of work will likely close one lane of Cumberland Avenue between 11th and 13th streets, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Once that work is completed, then the bigger job, upgrading the steam line, will start. The second round of work will close two lanes of Cumberland Avenue between 11th and 13th streets.
According to the traffic control permit sought by Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon engineering and architectural firm of Knoxville, the project will be completed by Aug. 10, before the start of UT's football season.
Once the two lanes of Cumberland are closed, eastbound commuters will shift to the two westbound lanes. Westbound commuters will be detoured to 11th Street, then to Clinch Avenue and then to 16th Street.
The City's Civil Engineering Division recommends that westbound motorists take a different route, since the detour route will squeeze traffic from a normal two lanes to a single lane. One suggested alternative route: Go west on Western Avenue to Middlebrook Pike and on to Sutherland Avenue.
In addition, pedestrians should anticipate that the steam line project will close sidewalks on Cumberland Avenue between 11th and 13th streets, one side of the road at a time.
The steam line project is tied to UT eliminating coal use completely by transitioning to natural gas, which will lead to decreased emissions of pollutants, less-costly fuel oil delivery and a better water treatment system.