Knoxville Church Avenue Bridge Closes

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 | 06:00pm

Demolition and Reconstruction Begin Immediately

Knoxville, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced today that the Church Avenue Bridge in downtown Knoxville will close Monday, December 4 at 6 a.m. The current structure spans over James White Parkway and Central Avenue. It was built in 1936 and has been given a ‘poor’ rating by TDOT structures division. The bridge will be demolished to make way for a new bridge that is expected to be completed in September 2007.

The new bridge will have two lanes of traffic with parallel parking on one side and sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides. Construction workers will cut and saw portions of the bridge and then pick those sections apart with heavy equipment. When reconstructed, the new Church Avenue Bridge will include five lanes. During the bridge construction, suggested alternate routes include Hill Avenue and Summit Hill Drive.

“We expect to have the bridge demolished in about two weeks. The plan is to saw the bridge up in sections and remove them using a crane.” said Jeff Walker, spokesperson for Ray Bell Construction Company. “The speed of demolition will depend on the integrity of the current structure.”

The Church Avenue bridge project was added to the SmartFIX40 project by the City of Knoxville in order to take advantage of roadway closures and cost efficiency. The SmartFIX40 project is an accelerated construction process that completely closes a roadway to allow around-the-clock work that is uninterrupted by traffic in order to dramatically reduce the time it takes to complete the project, and thereby reducing the long-term inconvenience to motorists.

During the SmartFix40 project, James White Parkway will be closed for nine months beginning in December 2006, and I-40 through traffic will be rerouted onto I-640 for 14 months starting in the spring of 2008. Local traffic will have access to downtown at all times. More than two years of traffic delays, lane closures and motorist frustrations will be avoided by allowing construction crews the opportunity to work without restriction form moving traffic while traffic is rerouted from I-40. I-40 through downtown carries an average of 103,000 vehicles per day.

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