Cumberland Avenue Businesses Remain Accessible; Website Highlights Merchants, Restaurants

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Cumberland Avenue Businesses Remain Accessible; Website Highlights Merchants, Restaurants

Posted: 04/16/2015
Cumberland ConnectAs the second week of utility work continues on the Cumberland Avenue reconstruction project, a majority of cut-through commuters appear to be using the recommended detour routes, and traffic is moving well on those alternate routes.

Traffic flow is slower through the section of Cumberland Avenue between 22nd Street and West Volunteer Boulevard, where two lanes are closed. But with fewer vehicles, restaurants and merchants fronting on Cumberland remain accessible.

"Traffic is moving better than it was the first few days," says Debbie Billings, co-founder of Graphic Creations and treasurer of the Cumberland Avenue Merchants Association.

"Business is down for some merchants since the work began April 6, but it's really not too difficult to get to Cumberland Avenue now that so many through commuters are taking the detour routes. So please continue to patronize the great businesses in the Cumberland Avenue area."

Patrons will also be invited to take advantage of special shopping and dining deals.

A new website, www.CumberlandConnect.com, and Facebook page, Facebook.com/CumberlandConnect, highlight the businesses in the Cumberland Avenue Corridor and offer coupons and promotions, as well as project details and traffic updates.

The website was launched by the City's construction engineering inspections contractor, Vaughn & Melton, which is also developing an app - available April 30 for Android and Apple devices - that will send push alerts with promotions if requested to people's smartphones.

"We know this two-year reconstruction will be disruptive to local businesses and residents," says Anne Wallace, project manager with the City's Office of Redevelopment. "We promise to work diligently throughout the process, to listen to the concerns of our community partners, and to keep them up to date as the project develops.

"But Cumberland Avenue is definitely open for business. The corridor is seeing dramatic public and private reinvestment. This public infrastructure upgrade is setting the stage for a more attractive, more economically successful, more vibrant and safer Cumberland Avenue."

Currently, one lane is open in each direction through the Cumberland construction area, and City traffic planners are recommending that commuters north of Cumberland use 17th Street to Clinch Avenue (or Grand to 17th Street when leaving Fort Sanders), while south-side motorists use Neyland Drive and Joe Johnson Drive.

Click here to view a Traffic Control Plan for Phase 1 of the construction area.

The Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project is a City of Knoxville initiative to redesign Cumberland Avenue from Alcoa Highway east to 17th street, changing the existing four-lane street to a three-lane cross section with a raised median and left-turn lanes at intersections. Sidewalks will be widened and landscaped, and utilities will be buried, to create a more attractive, pedestrian-friendly corridor.

Construction will proceed in two phases, with Phase I (from Alcoa Highway to 22nd Street) to be completed by the end of 2015, and Phase II (from 22nd Street to just east of 17th Street) scheduled for completion in August 2017.

Knoxville City Council on March 31 authorized the execution of contracts for the construction and construction engineering inspections work on Cumberland Avenue, totaling about $18 million.

Most of the project is federally funded, with City funding totaling about $3.6 million for construction. The pledge to complete the infrastructure improvements has helped leverage major redevelopment with private investments along the Cumberland Avenue Corridor.