Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cumberland Avenue project to be rebid - again; work delayed to mid-2015

I'm beginning to wonder if work will ever start on this thing.

From the city: Knoxville officials will be rebidding the contract for construction of the comprehensive Cumberland Avenue street redesign project, which will push the start of construction back from early 2015 to summer 2015.

Only one company had submitted a bid to perform the work, and that bid came in higher than budgeted. City consultants had estimated the construction work at about $11 million, and the sole bid was for more than $25 million. So the project will go out for rebid early next year after several elements of the bid package have been reworked.

City officials remain committed to doing the major traffic-flow redesign and utility upgrade along Cumberland Avenue, even though it appears that the project will wind up being costlier than first anticipated. Additional funding sources will be identified during the rebid process as well.

"The Cumberland Avenue Corridor project is a very complicated urban road project, and we knew it would present a number of challenges," said Bob Whetsel, the City's Director of Redevelopment.

"But we are 100 percent committed to this project, which has already helped spur more than $200 million in investment by private redevelopers. We've pledged to partner with residents and merchants in the Corridor by doing our part and modernizing the infrastructure, and we intend to follow through with what's really a once-in-a-century major overhaul."

The Cumberland Avenue project still will be done in two phases.

Phase I of the Cumberland Avenue project will ease traffic clogs on the western end of the corridor, the stretch of Cumberland Avenue between 22nd Street and Alcoa Highway.

Phase I improvements - especially the smoother-flowing intersections at Volunteer Boulevard and at Alcoa Highway - will give motorists more options for avoiding the Phase II construction work, said Project Manager Anne Wallace with the City's Office of Redevelopment.

Phase II calls for a redesign of Cumberland Avenue from 22nd Street to 16th Street. Both phases of work include new underground utilities, new signals, new sidewalks, the addition of turn lanes and new medians, plus landscaping, benches and pedestrian-scaled lighting.

Entire release RIGHT SMACK HERE.

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