City officials held a ceremonial ribbon cutting Thursday to celebrate improvements to the intersection of Forest Park Boulevard and Newcom Avenue.The project was initiated to make drainage improvements but evolved into more:
- A road realignment that simplifies traffic flow and makes crossing easier for pedestrians;
- Pedestrian improvements including new and replaced segments of sidewalk, new crosswalks, and new ADA accessible ramps;
- Connection for businesses in Mercedes Place to Knoxville’s 18-mile downtown greenway system; and
- Resurfacing of Forest Park Boulevard and Newcom Avenue.
“Our staff in Engineering took the opportunity of a drainage project to create a safer, more functional intersection for both drivers and pedestrians, and to link to our 18-mile downtown greenway system,” said Mayor Madeline Rogero. “Completing these improvements together ultimately reduced costs and road closures.
“Furthermore, linking the businesses in Mercedes Place with pedestrian access to cross Forest Park Boulevard added yet another destination on our downtown greenway system.”
The City’s greenway had previously ended in the parking lot of EarthFare. The system stretches as far as the Alex Haley statue in East Knoxville and crosses the Tennessee River with the newly added Knox/Blount Greenway.
The Forest Park Boulevard intersection project was primarily funded through the City’s Neighborhood Drainage Improvements capital funds, but some funding came out of the City’s annual street paving budget.
The City contracted Fulghum MacIndoe & Associates Inc. to design the project, and Adams and Sons Inc. served as the project contractor. City engineers oversaw the project.
The intersection is also near a major Knoxville Area Transit bus stop on KAT’s Route 11.