The Downtown Knoxville Alliance is taking creative steps to show that businesses affected by the Jackson Avenue ramp and Broadway viaduct closures will remain open and accessible, including driver- and pedestrian-friendly messages, sidewalk directionals and a long fence screen with large icons.
The downtown organization is placing eye-catching signage to help drivers and pedestrians easily find alternate routes and has designed a 750-foot-long chain link fence screen to cover the length of the Jackson Avenue construction site. The screen includes lifesized icons to create a fun and selfie-friendly backdrop for people walking by the site.
Parking signage will assist drivers, who can access Jackson Avenue west of Gay Street from Broadway Avenue and east of Gay Street via Central or State streets. With the closure of the Broadway viaduct, drivers can easily access the businesses in Broadway/Jackson area via Henley Street or Summit Hill Drive.
Sidewalk directionals show pedestrians how to access Jackson Avenue from the Gay Street and Jackson Avenue stairwell, which is well-lit and features the colorful “Stories” mural. An east-west pedestrian walkway will remain open under Gay Street. Sidewalks on Gay Street, the rest of Jackson Avenue and throughout the Old City also will remain open.
“While these projects are much-needed, it also was important to maintain as much access as possible to the businesses on Jackson Avenue and the Old City,” said Michele Hummel, executive director of the Downtown Knoxville Alliance. “I especially want to thank the City of Knoxville, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Bell & Associates Construction and businesses and residents in the area who all have worked together to make sure residents and visitors will be able to navigate the area during construction.”
The Alliance also is providing business support kits to help organizations digitally communicate with customers through social media and their websites about the construction. Each kit includes an easy-to-read map and website and social media promotional content to emphasize businesses are open during the construction closures.
The cobblestone Jackson Avenue ramps and adjacent sidewalk closed Sept. 16. The $8.2 million project managed by the City of Knoxville includes removal and restoration of the cobblestones and is expected to take about a year. Built in 1919-1920 to connect to the Gay Street viaduct, the ramps are 100 years old and structurally deficient. The original cobblestone bricks will be incorporated into the new ramps.
The Broadway Avenue viaduct opened in 1927 between West Jackson and West Depot avenues on Broadway and closed for replacement on Nov. 3. The $17.4 million reconstruction project managed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will feature two travel lanes; a center turn lane; bike lanes; and sidewalks when it reopens in 2022.
More information about navigating the closures and a map are available at https://www.downtownknoxville.org/jackson.
For details on the Jackson Avenue project, visit the City of Knoxville’s site at http://www.knoxvilletn.gov/jacksonavenue. For details on the Broadway project, visit TDOT’s site at https://www.tn.gov/tdot/projects/projects-region-1/broadway-viaduct.html.
To plan a downtown visit and to keep up with information on parking and local businesses, visit https://www.downtownknoxville.org or connect with Downtown Knoxville on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the Downtown Knoxville Alliance
Ensuring a vibrant, flourishing downtown is the primary mission of the Downtown Knoxville Alliance (DKA). Formed in 1993 as a Central Business Improvement District (CBID), the district encompasses a 0.67-square-mile area and is supported by a special assessment to property owners that is used to make improvements, enhance services and promote downtown. The DKA continually focuses on attracting and retaining a thriving community of residents, businesses and visitors in Downtown Knoxville. For more information, visit https://www.downtownknoxville.org.