City investing $1.6 M to build Old Broadway sidewalks

Eric VreelandFountain City

The city of Knoxville is building or improving 3,800 linear feet of sidewalk on Old Broadway – a $1.6 million investment that will provide pedestrians and bicyclists a safe detour around the dense traffic hub where Broadway and Interstate 640 intersect.

“For four decades, the I-640 / Broadway connection has been a problematic barrier for people traveling on foot or by bike. This major investment enhances connectivity and safety between Fountain City and the neighborhoods south of Sharps Ridge,” Mayor Kincannon said. “Multi-modal infrastructure improvements make Knoxville a more equitable and sustainable city.”

Lauren Rider

District 4 council member Lauren Rider supported the measure and later said, “This connection is essential in connecting Fountain City to lower Broadway. I’m delighted City Engineering worked diligently to find a route for pedestrians and cyclists. Prior to TDOTs I-640/Broadway reconstruction, there was a worn path in the grass along Broadway, the tell-tale sign that better pedestrian access was needed.”

City Council voted unanimously on Feb. 23 to authorize the administration to contract with McKinnon Construction Co. to do the work.

McKinnon – one of five companies that competed for the contract – submitted the lowest qualified bid on the project to build sidewalks, curbs, gutters and drainage improvements on Old Broadway between Mineral Springs Avenue and Broadway. The work is expected to completed by early 2022.

This is the first of four major sidewalk projects that the city will begin in the months ahead.

The other three projects:

Kingston Pike – Funded mostly through a state grant, the Kingston Pike Complete Connections Project will improve Kingston Pike between Wesley Road and the intersection of Papermill Drive and Golfclub Road. The project will address gaps in the sidewalk network, provide wider shoulders, improve connections to transit stops and install pedestrian crosswalks. Construction is expected to begin this summer and be completed within six months.

Coker Avenue – New sidewalks will be installed along Coker Avenue between Nadine Street and Whittle Springs Road. Construction could start as early as May and be completed within four months.

Atlantic Avenue – This project, 80 percent state-funded, will install 3,000 linear feet of new sidewalks along Atlantic Avenue between Broadway and Pershing Street. Construction is likely to start this summer, to be completed in nine months to a year.

Eric Vreeland is deputy director of communications for the city of Knoxville. Editor Sandra Clark contributed to this report.

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