The downtown intersection of Church Avenue and South Gay Street will be closed from Thursday, Aug. 4, through Friday, Aug. 12 – part of a $1.5 million rebuild of the 700 block of South Gay Street, between Cumberland and Church avenues.
The rebuild of the Church Avenue intersection with Gay Street, on the north end of the 700 block, involves digging out a badly-deteriorated medallion that combines brick and concrete. The bricks have become dislodged, the asphalt patches are rough, and the concrete support has broken up and become irreparable.
The northbound and southbound traffic lanes in the 700 block are scheduled to reopen later this month. The sidewalk on the western side of the street has been rebuilt and reopened, and reconstruction of the intersection of Cumberland Avenue and South Gay Street is concluding this week.
To improve durability, the rebuilt intersections will be made entirely of asphalt. They will be decoratively colored and stamped when the overall project wraps up.
The contractor rebuilding the 700 block is Knoxville-based Design and Construction Service Inc.
Starting Thursday, westbound motorists on Church Avenue wishing to head north on Gay Street may detour right on State Street, then turn left on Clinch Avenue to access northbound Gay Street. Eastbound motorists on Church Avenue wishing to go north on Gay Street may turn left on either Walnut or Market streets, then turn right on Union Avenue to return to Gay Street.
Knoxville Area Transit will be rerouting bus routes 41, 42 and 45, as well as the Blue Line and Green Line trolleys:
- Route 41 and 45 (outbound, from Knoxville Station) – Right on Hall of Fame Drive, right on Hill Avenue, right on State Street, left on Cumberland Avenue, left on Henley Street; return to normal route;
- Route 41 and 45 (inbound, from Henley Street) – Right on Main Street, left on State Street, right onto Church Avenue;
- Route 42 (outbound, from Knoxville Station) – Right on Hall of Fame Drive, right onto Hill Avenue, right on State Street, left on Cumberland Avenue, right on Walnut Street, left on Clinch Avenue; return to normal route;
- Route 42 (inbound, from Locust Street) – Left on Main Street, left on State Street, right onto Church Avenue;
- Blue Line trolley (inbound from Howard Baker Jr. Avenue) – Left on Hall of Fame, right on Hill, right on State, left on Cumberland, right on Walnut, left on Church; return to normal route;
- Green Line trolley (outbound from Main Street) – Left onto Walnut, right on Summit Hill Drive; return to normal route.
The reconstruction of the 700 block of South Gay Street includes utility upgrades, new pervious paver sidewalks, streetscape additions and the new intersections. New street trees and intersection bulb-outs are being built to improve pedestrian safety and better define on-street parking.
Once the 700 block reopens to vehicular traffic, with the two rebuilt intersections at Cumberland and at Church, work then will shift to rebuilding the sidewalk on the eastern side of the street. Access to businesses in that block will be maintained continuously.
The last part of the project will be reconstruction of the brick-and-concrete medallion intersection at Clinch Avenue and South Gay Street. Dates for that closure haven’t been finalized, but it will be scheduled in coordination with a Tennessee Theatre project to repair its marquee and vertical sign. (For details, visit http://www.tennesseetheatre.com/marquee/.)