New Hall of Fame Drive Opens

Sunday, December 17, 2006 | 06:00pm

Traffic Can Now Travel From Summit Hill Drive to Broadway

Knoxville, Tenn. – Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) officials and local leaders cut the ribbon on the new Hall of Fame Drive Thursday, December 14 officially opening the roadway to traffic. The 1.2 mile stretch of road between Summit Hill Drive and Broadway and I-40 will be one of the primary arteries for traveling downtown from I-40 after the James White Parkway is closed for reconstruction on December 17. The new five-lane Hall of Fame Drive includes new sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping and two new bridges. Construction began on Hall of Fame Drive in May 2005.

The Hall of Fame Drive Bridge that spans over Norfolk Southern Railroad, Jackson Avenue and Willow Avenue includes four lanes plus bike lanes. The new Knoxville “Signature” Bridge that spans over I-40 includes five lanes. This bridge has decorative lighting along the bridge rails, four 22-foot towers with lights and will ultimately feature the word “Knoxville” in four-foot tall letters affixed to the westbound side of the bridge.

“The opening of Hall of Fame Drive represents a major milestone in the SmartFIX40 road construction project,” said Gerald Nicely, Commissioner, TDOT. “To maintain access to downtown Knoxville, we had to complete Hall of Fame Drive before we could begin demolition and reconstruction of the James White Parkway.”

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam said that the new “Hall of Fame Drive is a beautiful boulevard that dramatically improves traffic flow and enhances the beauty of downtown Knoxville. I am pleased with the progress of this major downtown construction project and I know motorists will be pleased as well.”

“Both city and county citizens can be proud of this new road. Not only will it be safer for motorists traveling on Broadway to get to downtown, the new signature bridge over I-40 will be a focal point for visitors,” added Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale. “All the improvements being made as part of this massive project will enhance the lives of everyone in Knox County.”

“The Department of Transportation has done an excellent job in getting this road open as quickly as possible to help alleviate some of the traffic problems in this area,” Senator Jamie Woodson said. “Because of the new bike lane and sidewalks, Hall of Fame Drive will make downtown more accessible for everyone, bikers and walkers as well as motorists.”

“The section of I-40 through downtown Knoxville was built in the 1960’s and had become over-crowded and had one of the worst safety records in the state,” said Senator Tim Burchett. “I’m pleased TDOT is taking on the major project of improving this stretch of interstate. The opening of Hall of Fame Drive is another step towards the ultimate goal of a safer and more efficient transportation system downtown.”

Representative Joe Armstrong added, “Hall of Fame Drive will now be a vital artery connecting downtown and the Magnolia Business District, which will bring many new visitors and in turn a new life and vitality to the area.”
“All Knoxvillians can be proud of the new Hall of Fame Drive and the new signature entrance into downtown,” said Representative Harry Tindell. “I’m pleased that TDOT worked with local communities to create such a signature structure for our city.”

This construction is part of the SmartFix40 project currently underway in downtown Knoxville. This accelerated construction process involves completely closing a roadway to allow around-the-clock work uninterrupted by traffic in order to dramatically reduce the time it takes to complete the project, thereby reducing the long-term inconvenience to motorists.

During the SmartFix40 project, James White Parkway will be closed for nine months 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 from moving traffic while traffic is rerouted from I-40. Approximately 103,000 vehicles travel I-40 through downtown on a daily basis.

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