New Church Avenue Bridge Opens

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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New Church Avenue Bridge Opens

Posted: 09/07/2007
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) today announced the Church Avenue Bridge in downtown Knoxville is now open to traffic. In a ribbon cutting ceremony, state and local officials opened the new bridge that spans James White Parkway and Central Avenue.

The previous bridge, built in 1926, was demolished in December 2006. The new Church Avenue Bridge has two lanes of traffic with 31 spaces of metered public parking on the south side, a seven-foot sidewalk on either side and a bike path on the north side. The structure includes new decorative lighting and concrete railings which are similar in design to the original bridge. Approximately 3,200 motorists used the 81-year-old Church Street Bridge each day before its demolition. “The new Church Avenue Bridge is a beautiful addition to downtown Knoxville and is a much better structure than the old bridge. It will serve motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists well into the future,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely.

The Church Avenue Bridge was added to the SmartFIX40 project at the request of the City of Knoxville to take advantage of nearby road closures and to achieve cost efficiency. “The bridge is an important link in and out of downtown and we are very pleased the bridge will be opened to traffic before the first home UT football game,” said Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam. “This bridge can accommodate many modes of transportation, not just vehicles. It’s exciting that pedestrians, bicycles and cars all will have designated travel lanes on the bridge.” SmartFIX40 is TDOT’s single most expensive, one time construction project in its 90-year history. Broken into two separate construction contracts, SmartFIX40 has a price tag of approximately $190 million. SmartFIX40 is an accelerated construction process used by the department to speed up highway construction. The process involves closing the primary roadway to allow around-the-clock work that is uninterrupted by traffic in order to dramatically shorten the time it takes to complete the project, thereby reducing the long-term inconvenience to motorists. The SmartFIX40 project will save over two years of construction time.