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National Public Works Week: Engineering Helps Knoxville Run More Smoothly with Street Repaving 

With 1,000 miles of roads in the City of Knoxville’s limits, it takes a great deal of coordination and budgeting to keep our streets fresh.

The Engineering Department oversees the contract for repaving Knoxville’s streets. This year, the City has contracted Rogers Group, Inc. for $6.9 million to repave 51 miles of roads.

“It’s a moving operation that we take on street by street,” said Tom Clabo, Civil Engineering Chief for the City. “At times, we can have the milling crew at one part of town, and the paving crew in another; it takes a lot of methodical calculation to repave our streets and still keep traffic flowing.”

Crews milling Cherokee Boulevard in 2014.

First, the contractor mills the road, or grinds and removes the asphalt. From that point, the contractor has 14 days to pave the road and move on. Once the paving crew moves in, a 1.5-inch layer of asphalt is overlaid on the street.

City engineers also make an effort to coordinate with the Knoxville Utilities Board in order to avoid cutting up a recently paved road for utilities work.

“We try to schedule with KUB so that we’re coming in behind them and paving after utilities work has been completed rather than having newly paved roads get cut up for utilities,” Clabo explained.

Additionally, the Civil Engineering Division consults with Jon Livengood, the City’s Alternative Transportation Coordinator, to identify streets that may be able to receive bike lanes when the contractor repaves the traffic lines, For example, Liberty Street recently received a bike lane upgrade after a street resurfacing project.


In order to determine which streets to repave, City officials base the priority off of age, traffic volumes, and laser testing. Major arterial roads are ideally paved every ten years, “collector” roads every 15 years, and local streets every 20 years.

Laser testing gauges the street surface quality and Dyna-Flect analysis determines the street’s subgrade strength.

Because temperature is a factor for asphalt, street repaving takes place around East Tennessee weather, between April and October.

Some of the more prominent roads to have sections repaved this year include Island Home Boulevard (currently underway), Cedar Lane, Callahan Drive, Central Street, Church Avenue, Clinch Avenue, Cumberland Avenue, Gay Street, Hill Avenue, Locust Street, Main Street, Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, Martin Mill Pike, Moody Avenue, Oglewood Avenue, Riverside Drive, Sevierville Pike, Summit Hill Drive, Union Avenue, and Weisgarber Road.

To view a full list of the 200 roads being resurfaced this year, click here.

Posted by On 26 May, 2017 at 5:58 PM