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Coming Down: Jackson Avenue Ramps Replacement Project Off to Quick Start 
The Jackson Avenue ramp on the west side of Gay Street has been demolished - and the ramp on the east side could be taken down by the end of next week.

Here's the view on West Jackson Avenue this week, looking eastward toward Gay Street.

Notice that the Jackson Avenue ramp on the west side of Gay Street has been completely demolished - and the ramp on the east side could be taken down by the end of next week.

That's a good sign that the reconstruction team headed by ​Bell & Associates Construction is making quick progress on the $8.2 million ramps replacement project and hasn't run into any major unexpected difficulties in the early going.

A short section of Jackson Avenue in the Old City closed a month ago to accommodate replacement of two structurally deficient Jackson Avenue ramps connecting to Gay Street. The 100-year-old ramps are being demolished and replaced, and new ramps, which will closely resemble the historic ramps, are expected to reopen in September 2020.

The cobblestone-like bricks that have been removed during the demolition will be put back in place as part of the new construction. 

Steps have been taken to preserve access to businesses and the City parking lot on West Jackson, as well as to maintain pedestrian access around the construction site. Downtown Coordinator Rick Emmett says that inconveniences have been minimized as much as possible.

"The main thing is that everyone knows the Old City remains accessible and open for business, and it's not hard to navigate around the work," Emmett said. "We've committed to the neighborhood stakeholders to finish the job on time, and so far, everything is going smoothly and according to plan."

In the center of the photo above, notice the east-west pedestrian walkway, connecting businesses and the nearby parking lot. The orange mesh that covers the fencing was designed by the Downtown Knoxville Alliance.

Decorative mesh covering on fence along Jackson Avenue pedestrian corridor, created by the Downtown Knoxville Alliance.

While the ramps are being replaced, there will be no through traffic on that section of Jackson Avenue between Broadway and Central Street. Motorists wishing to park in the West Jackson lot and access the businesses west of the ramps will need to turn onto West Jackson from Broadway.

Traffic on Gay Street overhead will not be affected. A brightly-colored metal staircase at the southern end of the Gay Street Viaduct will provide pedestrian access between Gay Street and Jackson. The Downtown Knoxville Alliance gave the staircase a fresh look by covering it with a mural depicting Knoxville iconic images.

Posted by evreeland On 15 October, 2019 at 4:49 PM