Traffic Tips for Boomsday and U.T. Home Games

Communications Director

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

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

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News item

Traffic Tips for Boomsday and U.T. Home Games

Posted: 09/01/2015
City of Knoxville officials today recommended the best traffic routes to help motorists most easily drive into the University of Tennessee campus area for football games this season, and they also promoted Knoxville Area Transit shuttles as an alternative to driving.

Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch also announced special traffic enforcement efforts for the Labor Day weekend, as well as Sept. 5-6 street closures for Boomsday on Sunday, Sept. 6.

LABOR DAY WEEKEND

Specialized Traffic Enforcement

“Keeping people safe over the holiday weekend is our No. 1 objective,” Chief Rausch said. “Officers will utilize directed and saturation patrols to reduce the speed of motorists traveling throughout the city. We will aggressively enforce posted speed limits while looking for motorists who are driving recklessly or who are driving impaired.”

A specialized traffic enforcement effort will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4, and conclude at midnight on Monday, Sept. 7.

During the 2014 Labor Day weekend, KPD officers averaged 22 arrests and citations each hour over the 80-hour holiday traffic enforcement effort. Officers issued 1,636 traffic-related citations, made 160 arrests (including 19 felony arrests and 19 DUI arrests), and responded to 59 crashes involving property damage and another 10 wrecks with injuries.

Boomsday

Sunday’s Boomsday presents unique challenges in maintaining a safe traffic flow, Rausch said, because most visitors drive into downtown at about the same time and then leave at the same time, after the fireworks show. An estimated 100,000 people attend Boomsday, with music and activities along Neyand Drive and Volunteer Landing from 3-10 p.m. The fireworks display will start at about 9:30 p.m.

A number of streets and bridges will be closed in order to produce the nation’s largest Labor Day weekend fireworks display.

Here’s the schedule of Boomsday road closures:

SATURDAY, SEPT. 5

• 9 p.m. – Westbound and eastbound Neyland Drive between Lake Loudoun Boulevard and Walnut Street
• 10 p.m. – Henley Bridge

SUNDAY, SEPT. 6

• 3 p.m. – James White Parkway exit to Neyland Drive
• 3 p.m. – Central Street at Main Street
• 4 p.m. – Locust Street at Front Avenue (to prevent traffic from entering Neyland Drive)
• 4 p.m. – Ramp from Hall of Fame Drive to Neyland Drive
• 9 p.m. – Gay Street Bridge (closed to vehicles and pedestrians)
• 9 p.m. – Poplar Street at Main Street
• 9 p.m. – Henley Street at West Hill Avenue

In addition, City Side Drive and Rocky Shore Drive at City View will be closed for the event; no public viewing will be available at the City View shore or docks. The sidewalks on Neyland Drive will also be closed.

For tips on where to park, what to see and do, and what visitors can and can’t bring to Boomsday, visit www.boomsday.org.

KAT will be altering its Route 41 – Chapman Highway bus route due to the Henley Bridge closure. Route 41 drivers will use the Gay Street Bridge while the Henley Bridge is closed. This detour will be in effect until Monday morning.

Brick by Brick Pre-Game on the Strip

The Cumberland Avenue Merchants Association is offering a first-ever pre-game closed-street block party before the Vols’ season opener in Nashville on Saturday, Sept. 5.

A section of Cumberland Avenue will be closed between 18th Street and North 19th Street from 2-4 p.m. for the Brick by Brick Pre-Game on the Strip block party. 

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero will welcome fans to the family-friendly alcohol-free pre-game festivities before the UT-Bowling Green kickoff at 4 p.m. Brick by Brick Pre-Game on the Strip features music courtesy of Merle 96.7 FM, food vendors, games, souvenir giveaways and merchandise for sale.

After the pre-game festivities, UT fans are encouraged to gravitate toward their favorite Cumberland Avenue Corridor restaurants to watch the UT game, as merchants along the Strip are offering special menus, big-screen viewings and promotions.

The Route 11 – Kingston Pike KAT bus will detour from noon to 6 p.m. around the block party, using Clinch Avenue outbound and White Avenue inbound from 17th Street to 19th Street. A special stop will be put up at White Avenue at 17th Street for those who normally catch the bus on Cumberland Avenue at Melrose Place. That detour stop will be fare-free, as are other stops in the Free Fare Zone along Cumberland.

For more details or to plan where to park near Cumberland Avenue, visit www.cumberlandconnect.com and click on the large Brick by Brick Pre-Game on the Strip information box. 

UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE HOME FOOTBALL GAMES

City police and traffic engineers urge fans to be patient and allow plenty of driving time to commute safely to and from the campus area on game days, and also to consider riding KAT shuttles to and from the home games. 

Vol fans who haven’t been in the UT or Fort Sanders areas since last football season will encounter a number of lane closures, due to the City’s $17 million reconstruction of Cumberland Avenue and several large-scale private redevelopment projects that are underway.

Motorists are encouraged to pre-plan their trip, study their parking options and follow recommended traffic routes (listed below and on www.cumberlandconnect.com). 

KAT Shuttles

Why not avoid the navigation and parking hassles and ride a KAT football shuttle?

For $6 round trip (plus a parking fee at most garages), a Vol fan can pick up a KAT shuttle downtown at the Civic Coliseum, in the Old City or near Market Square and get off the shuttle near Phillip Fulmer Way and the Walters Life Sciences Building, two blocks from Neyland Stadium. 

For $16 round trip (free parking), a fan can pick up a KAT shuttle at Farragut High School and get off the shuttle at Peyton Manning Pass and Circle Park, just a block from the stadium.

Visit www.katbus.com/maps/route51.pdf for complete details. 

Recommended Driving Routes

Be aware of new driving conditions, especially on Cumberland Avenue, which has one lane open in each direction on its western end, near Neyland Drive.

There is now two-way traffic on four side streets that previously had been one-directional – 18th Street, 19th Street south of Cumberland, Mountcastle and 21st Street – between Lake and White avenues. (There always had been two-way traffic on 20th Street and on 19th Street north of Cumberland.) These permanent changes in traffic flow will give more options to motorists and enable them to more quickly reach their destinations.

However, there will be no left turns allowed off Cumberland Avenue. Motorists are encouraged to study a map and plan their commutes before heading to the area on game days.

Fans without parking passes should refrain from driving into the congested campus area and instead should park in peripheral areas, such as at downtown garages or in private lots.

City officials recommend these routes on game days, either for fans with designated parking in the UT or Fort Sanders areas, or those wishing to access downtown parking:

• Coming from the west: One option is to take Interstate 40/75 to southbound Alcoa Highway, then exit onto Neyland Drive. DO NOT TURN ONTO THE SINGLE EASTBOUND LANE OF CUMBERLAND AVENUE. Once on Neyland Drive, motorists can access campus via Joe Johnson Drive, or they can continue on to parking garages downtown.

A second option is to take eastbound Kingston Pike, but turn right onto Neyland Drive. DO NOT CONTINUE ONTO THE SINGLE EASTBOUND LANE OF CUMBERLAND AVENUE.

• Coming from the south: Take Chapman Highway and cross the Tennessee River into downtown using either the Henley Bridge or the Gay Street Bridge. 

Or, drive northbound Alcoa Highway to Neyland Drive, and either access campus via Joe Johnson Drive or access City parking garages by continuing on Neyland into downtown.

• Coming from north of Cumberland Avenue: Take southbound Broadway until it turns into Henley Street downtown; then turn right onto Western Avenue (to 11th Street) or onto Clinch Avenue to access Fort Sanders, or turn left onto Summit Hill Drive or Church Street to access the downtown garages.

Or, if driving from I-40: Take southbound 17th Street to access side streets into Fort Sanders.

• Coming from the east: Get off I-40 at James White Parkway to access downtown and parking.

When leaving Neyland Stadium after the game, fans should follow the same route that they took when arriving to the game.

Parking Options

UT and City officials have some simple advice for fans wishing to drive and park:

• If you don’t have a UT parking pass, don’t drive onto campus. Virtually all parking on campus is already assigned and fans without a pass won’t find any available spaces. You’d be better off parking in peripheral areas, such as at the City garages or private lots downtown.

• Pick your parking destination before hitting the road. Have a plan for where you’ll be parking. Here are a few resources for planning your trip: www.cumberlandconnect.com, www.knoxparking.com and www.parkdowntownknoxville.com.

Game Day Parking Map