Construction Company Selected for 100 Block Project

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Construction Company Selected for 100 Block Project

Posted: 01/14/2009
Southern Constructors Inc., a Knoxville-based construction company, has been awarded the contract for the reconstruction of the 100 Block of Gay Street.

City Council unanimously approved entering into a $3.5-million contract with Southern Constructors at its Tuesday night meeting. The company had submitted the lowest qualified bid for the Gay Street Streetscapes Project according to the city's engineering and purchasing departments.

The project involves a major reconstruction of the 100 and 200 blocks of Gay Street from Jackson Avenue to Summit Hill Drive including the replacement of the street and both sidewalks. The city also plans major streetscape improvements including wider sidewalks and added features like trees, bike racks and street furniture. 
New loading zones will also be developed between Vine Avenue and Summit Hill and some additional glass blocks will be installed in the sidewalks.

"The one hundred block infrastructure repair project is critical to the future of one of downtown's key areas," said Mayor Bill Haslam. "When complete, the redesigned block will be a great enhancement to the core of our city."

That section of Gay Street was raised more than a story above the original street in 1919 and rests atop a bridge-like support structure. The comprehensive project is a much needed fix for an outdated infrastructure that hasn't seen any major maintenance work since the street was raised.

"I am looking forward to working with the folks at Southern Constructors to finally begin this complicated project," said Rick Emmett, the city's urban growth manager. "The end product should be another nice asset for the City of Knoxville."

The contract calls for the work to be completed in 18 months and the city anticipates issuing a Notice to Proceed to Southern Constructors in early February.

The company will face some significant challenges in completing the project including having to do a lot of the work underground and relocating outdated and hard to access utilities.

It's also working on a street that is home of numerous residents and businesses.

The contract requires Southern Constructors to do the work as quickly and efficiently and with as little disruption as possible. But the work will cause significant disruptions on the block, including about 12 months of extensive street work that will result in the 100 block being closed to vehicular traffic.

The company has completed several projects in the Knoxville area in recent years including the renovations of the University of Tennessee's Hess Hall, the Jacob Building at Chilhowee Park and Tennessee School for the Deaf.

Southern Constructors also recently built UT's Sherri Parker Lee Stadium the 1,580-seat home of the UT Lady Volunteers softball team.