Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Construction Update - December 30, 2009

As we had hoped, we have now been able to complete most of the 200 Block of S. Gay Street roadway and all of both sidewalks have now been reformed with concrete. The 2 inch pour of concrete is yet to come which will have the coloring and banding. The three pictures below reflect the current status of work here.

Sometime around the week of January 10, 2010, we will have to have a lane closure on Summit Hill for about a week to complete the roadway and sidewalk resurfacing. Of course this will be greatly dependent on the weather and I will post as soon as a date is set. Sometime soon after that bit of work we will move over into the intersection with Vine Avenue to complete that stretch. I will be discussing delivery scheduling with some of you closer to that time.

The first section of sidewalk has been poured in the west side of the 100 Block and we plan to pour the concrete needed for the next section in front of UHRbana tomorrow.

Below is the current bridge to URHbana and also to the UT Art Gallery. The next section of work is due to begin early next week. I plan to contact some of you next week to discuss scheduling. As you can see in the picture below, the door on the left which is the entrance to several apartments, will be affected and is very problematic in that it swings out and is very low. The bridging for this door will be very tricky so close coordination with everyone here will be needed.

Other work being completed includes water service on the western side of the 100 Block. This switchover could cause very temporary water cutoff for some while the switch is made from old service to new service. I am told the outage would take no more than 20 minutes at a time and none of the restaurants would be affected.

We also plan to begin restoring the old sidewalk underground on the east side of the 100 Block next week as the KUB vault work is now completed. The next several pictures reflect the conditions underground there.

The picture above is of the old sidewalk beside the Emporium. Note the glass block panels above.

The picture below is of the older sidewalk looking toward the Sterchi Building.

Below is another picture from the Emporium area. This side of the street is much cleaner and in better structural shape than the west side so we hope work here will progress quickly. We may be able to get to this side of the street in early 2010 depending on everyones schedule.

The columns all line up very nicely here as well (see below) as opposed to the west side where many barely fit on their caissons which created all of the column redesigns.

The picture below was taken near the old WNOX area and show the remnants of an old glass panel in the old sidewalk.

The picture below was of yet another unexpected find in the old sidewalk. Speculation is that this was a vault of the old Western Union business that existed here.

The above picture is under the Jackson Avenue ramp near the entrance to the underground on the east side. There is not an entrance way currently from lower Jackson Avenue to reach this eastern underground sidewalk area as exists on the western side with it's concrete stairway.

I hope everyone has a very Happy New Year and for all of you planning an evening for First Night downtown, don't forget to patronize the shops on the 100 Block as well.

Thanks for your interest.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Construction Update - December 23, 2009

I hope everyone is having a safe and enjoyable holiday.

We are very much encouraged by the progress we are making on the 100 and 200 Block of S. Gay Street. As I noted last week most of the utility work is now done and we are now in the roadway and sidewalk construction phase. So far the weather has cooperated enough to allow us to pour a good amount of concrete.

The picture below is the first pour of concrete in front of the VMC building on the west side of S. Gay Street.

We have also started the next section of sidewalk ( see below). We have quickly learned that we will probably be building and rebuilding bridge sections as work progresses depending on the work to be done and the situation with the building occupants.

The 200 Block is really coming along such that we hope to have all of the concrete in place by the end of the year with a possible reopening of the 200 Block to 2 way traffic by the end of January. We will have some work to do at the first of the year which will necessitate a lane closure on Summit Hill for maybe two days to finish up here. The pictures below show the 2oo block formed up and then with concrete poured. All of the sidewalks have now been reformed on both sides of the street and only the roadway is remaining to be surfaced.

The picture below is a good depiction of the narrowed roadway. Here there are two pours of concrete, one for the west which is completed and the east which is just being poured.

Last, below is a pic taken from the Gay Street Viaduct of the project.

Merry Christmas to all of you and thanks for your interest.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Construction Update - December 17, 2009

The first pour of concrete on the western sidewalk of the 100 Block will occur, hopefully, early next week. This area is the most complex with the tie in to Jackson Avenue ramp as well as ultimately the Gay Street Viaduct so the grade lines are critical. Once we get beyond this, we think everything else should proceed as we thought.

Yesterday we also began work on the next section of sidewalk in front of 1010 UT Gallery and also URHbana. The old sidewalk is being removed and bridges located for entrance. Steel and the column forms are being put in place so concrete can be poured here next week as well.

KUB successfully completed their goal of completely re energizing the 100 Block of S. Gay Street apparently without a hitch. The only electric work remaining will involve installing the street light system and other minor switching. The vault work should be completed this week and last weeks glitch worked out for everyone I am told so we are grateful for that.

You will note the box layout in the picture below in the middle of the rebar and the form for the new sidewalk. This will eventually provide the base of a glass panel. The glass panels will be installed this spring in conjunction with the 2 inch top pour remaining for the sidewalks.

The work on a water line continued last week along Summit Hill and in front of O.P. Jenkins and seemed to go well with a temporary lane closure on Summit Hill needed.

We continue to make progress on the 200 Block of S. Gay Street and plan to pour more concrete later this week and next week. The east sidewalk is ready for concrete as is another large section of roadway. Below is the first section of roadway to be completed.

Finally, thanks to CBID and others for the advertising plan for the 100 Block Merchants. I am sure it will be a big help to them. I believe folks at CBID have been in touch with the Merchants and I know they (CBID) would like to hear any feedback from their efforts.
As always, thanks for your interest.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Construction Update - December 10, 2009

We are continuing to make good progress on both the 100 Block and the 200 Block of S. Gay Street albeit with some bumps along the way.

An example of this was our problem with removing the old KUB vaults on the east side of S. Gay Street this week. These vaults have housed transformers for almost 50 years and since there is a small chance of contamination, KUB has hired an environmental contractor specializing in hazard abatement to remove the vaults.

As I have related here before, one of the vaults is in front of the Emporium and actually in the underground sidewalk area on the east side. Indeed, our work there is currently held up in exploratory digging on the columns on the east side while we await the removal of this vault.

Yesterday I walked down for our weekly construction meeting and was immediately stopped on my way by folks at the Emporium concerned with the vault work and its impact on the Black Box Theater on the second level of the Emporium building. The Black Box Theatre folks are hosting an International Convention of world musicians this week including some from Trinidad and they were to begin practicing for their concerts at the Bijou Theater on Friday and Saturday night inside the Black Box Theater.

The noise was horrendous from the machinery removing the vault but even more disturbing to them was the hole that had appeared in their brick wall separating them from the old underground sidewalk (see first pic below).

I then went to the construction meeting with this news and found that folks there were already well aware of this issue. Gordon Bryant and Everett Noe from KUB relayed the situation to me which was the Black Box Theater wall was in fact the outside wall of the vault to be removed.

The Black Box Theatre actually did not have an exterior wall separating them from the old underground sidewalk. This made a lot of sense in hindsight given their issues with stormwater penetration into their space. Our Contractor on the 100 Block had said that he suspected a problem here but we had no idea the problem was in fact not a poorly constructed wall but no wall at all.

The hole that was encountered was a result of the KUB Contractor investigating the condition of what was thought to be the exterior wall to the Black Box Theater by taking out a single brick in the wall to the vault. The Contractor and KUB were both surprised to find themselves actually peering into the Black Box Theater.

After the construction meeting and armed with this new knowledge, KUB folks met with folks at the Emporium and were able to work out a compromise on rehearsal and timing of construction. Then we went to Dewhirst Properties who has management responsibilities for the Emporium Building with the wall issue or rather the lack of a wall. I am happy to say that folks there were most accommodating and agreed to begin constructing an exterior wall today.

The second picture is of one the the wonderful groups rehearsing in The Black Box Theatre at the Emporium (the wall in question is behind the singer) and the next two pictures are of the east side underground sidewalk area taken by the to-be-removed KUB vault.

Thanks to everyone involved, Lisa Zinni and Cheryl Jenkins at the Emporium, Linda Parris-Bailey of the Black Box Theater, Everett Noe and Gordon Bryant at KUB, David Dewhirst, Mark Heinz and AnnMarie Tugwell at Dewhirst Properties for all coming together in a spirit of compromise to resolve this issue quickly.

We are indeed fortunate to have these types of folks on the 100 Block.

Work is also continuing on the 100 Block. We had a slight glitch with some of the design grades but are on track, weather permitting, to begin pouring the concrete for this first section of sidewalk next week. We plan to begin the next section in front of the UT Gallery and URHbana next week as well.

Work is moving ahead on the 200 Block of S. Gay Street. We hope to begin pouring concrete in the first section of roadway this week. The east sidewalk has been removed and forms are being put in place to begin this reconstruction. We are hopeful we can have this work completed by the first of the year. This will also include reconstructing the section through the intersection with Vine Avenue so folks should have a nice entrance way into the 100 Block soon.

Some of the remaining utility work to be done includes the installation of a waterline (see below), near the intersection of Vine Avenue and S. Gay Street.

Of course remember the electric outage planned for tonight and tomorrow as described in my last post.

The Christmas Parade and First Friday were both a success and many thanks to all of the residents and merchants on the 100 Block for all of their Christmas decorations. With the construction, the City of Knoxville is obviously not able to help there as much as we would like but our hats are off to you for making the block look festive.

Folks at the City and CBID are working hard on an advertising plan for the 100 Block merchants and also on some sort of sign to be placed near the existing "We are Open" sign. I will post more in the near future when I have more information.

As always, I hope you are enjoying the Holiday season.

Thanks for your interest.

Monday, December 7, 2009

KUB Outage

Please pass along this info sent to me from KUB concerning the planned power outage.

The clearance that was scheduled for the 100 Block of Gay St. on Dec 8th/9th has been re-scheduled due to forecast of heavy rain on the 9th and 10th of December. The new time is Thursday night, the 11th starting at midnight extending until Friday morning at 6:00AM. We will NOT have the service to the two restaurants off until after 2:00AM when they close.

Dec 11 @ midnight until 6:00AM. Work @ restaurants will not start until AFTER they close @ 2:00AM.

13 Customers…139 S. Gay, 137 S. Gay , 135 S. Gay (Downstairs), 135 S. Gay (Upstairs), 133-A S. Gay , 133-B S. Gay, 133-C S. Gay, 131 S.Gay, 119 S. Gay, 117 S. Gay SW (A1F0800197) Southern Alliance, 115 ½ SW S. Gay (A1F0800172) Southern Alliance, 115 ½ S. Gay(E1F0500044) URBHANA, and 113 S.Gay (UT Gallery), Nama and Havana Nights Restaurants; David Dewhirst Properties @ 123 S.Gay St and other residents.

KUB crews and Massey Electric will require access to door at 123 S.Gay(Dewhirst) to get to the space under the sidewalk.

Thanks for your help in getting this message out.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Construction Update- December 3, 2009

Thanks to those who attended our Streetscapes meeting on November 30 at the Emporium.
It is always helpful to us to meet with anyone with an interest in the project and to listen to any concerns.

As a result of that meeting we plan to have a sign constructed basically stating 'We are Open" probably constructed at our City Engineering sign shop using reflective materials to go along with our existing sign. Also, CBID is working on an advertising campaign for the Holiday season similar, I think, to our initial effort upon project start.

KUB folks were in attendance and we discussed the electric outage necessary to energize the newly installed electric service to the remaining folks on the western side of S. Gay Street.
The planned outage is as follows:

Dec 8,2009 12 Midnight to Dec 9,2009 at 6:00AM…..If it rains , Dec 10 from 2:00AM until 6:00AM.

The addresses and locations affected are:

3 Customers…139 S.Gay, 137 S. Gay, 135 S. Gay (Downstairs), 135 S. Gay (Upstairs),133-A S.Gay, 133-B S. Gay, 133-C S. Gay , 131 S. Gay, 119 S. Gay, 117 S. Gay SW (A1F0800197) Southern Alliance, 115 ½ SW S. Gay (A1F0800172) Southern Alliance, 115 ½ S. Gay(E1F0500044) URBHANA, and 113 S.Gay (UT Gallery),
Nama and Havana Nights Restaurants; David Dewhirst Properties @ 123 S. Gay St

Of course notice is also being provided by KUB normal channels but I was asked to post here as well. If you know of someone affected, please let them know.

My understanding is that this will basically complete the conversion from the old system to the new electric service. KUB has worked very hard to finish this complicated upgrade and we are thankful for their commitment to getting this job completed.

As many of you know, the sidewalk on the western side of S. Gay Street has been poured and is now functioning as the walkway (see below). Next week we will begin reconstructing both the roadway and the eastern sidewalk.

We are making progress on the western sidewalk in front of the VMC and Nash Properties. The steel is in place (see below) and we have begun the process of forming up the new sidewalk in anticipation of pouring concrete. We hope to have the concrete trucks in there by the middle of next week, weather permitting.

The next phase of sidewalk reconstruction will happen in front of the next two businesses ending at URBhana. Of course bridges and pathways will be in place for building access.
As we expected, this first piece of sidewalk construction presented some unexpected challenges but we think the next stretch of work will go much easier as we get our timing down.
This Friday is First Friday and also the Downtown Christmas parade so I hope many of you can come down to enjoy all of the events.
The Office of Special Events has really done a fine job this year as always and Downtown Knoxville really looks good for this Holiday Season.

As always, thanks for your interest.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Construction Update - November 25, 2009

Good progress continues to be made on the 200 Block of S. Gay Street. The two pictures below show the two sections of sidewalk which will be poured today (Wednesday). A two inch topping of concrete is yet to be poured which will have all of the decorative elements. This probably will not occur until spring as the temperature must remain reasonably warm for two to three days for the new concrete to cure.

The eastern sidewalk work will begin next week but not before the western sidewalk is opened back up. The roadway will also be reconstructed at the same time as the eastern sidewalk work.
Also material is being put in place to finish the grade of the road so this can all be wrapped up, hopefully before Christmas.

The columns have now all been cut to the proper lengths with the cross beams removed and the jackets placed to begin reinforcement of the existing columns. Concrete is being poured here and the hope is that we can begin forming this new section of sidewalk in the 100 Block next Wednesday.

Below is a picture of the forms used for the columns.

I stopped in and talked to the KUB crews about their progress and work here is proceeding as we hoped. Below is a picture of another old transformer about to be removed from its vault.

The Contractor plans to work Friday and Saturday and will pretty much be on a 6 day a week schedule for a while.

The next Streetscapes meeting is on November 30, 2009 at 5:00pm at the Emporium. I have posted an agenda in another post.

I hope to see all of you there.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and thanks for your interest.

November 30, 2009 Meeting Agenda

1. Call to Order

2. Discussion of completed construction

3. Next phase of Construction
a. 200 Block of S. Gay Street
b. Column and sidewalks in the 100 Block of S. Gay Street

4. Other issues.
a. Signage and advertising
b. KPD issues
c. Parking

5. KUB outages

6. Adjourn

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

We have finally poured the first bit of concrete on the western side of the 200 Block of S. Gay Street. To the left of the new sidewalk are the new streetlight boxes. The next pour will link up this section of sidewalk with the section leading to Vine Avenue. The last section of sidewalk to be poured on the west side of S. Gay Street will finish at Summitt Hill and will necessitate a lane closure in the next few weeks as we will also move over into the eastern sidewalk at that time as well.

Our construction in the 100 Block cracked a couple of windows at the UT Art Gallery when a piece of one of the beams broke loose. We apologize to the folks there and have repaired one of the windows today.

In talking to a KUB rep today on site, I have learned that KUB is planning a power outage at 120 S. Gay Street on Sunday November 22, 2009 from 9:00am until 5:00pm. Folks have been notified as usual through the KUB process but thought I might note it here as well.

Thanks for your interest.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Construction Update 2 - November 19, 2009

Here are a few additional pictures I took this afternoon. We have estimated that we have as many as 60 workers on site here today counting KUB crews so we are making a lot of progress.

The picture below shows the concrete saw being used to cut off the columns to the proper height and to cut loose the old beams for replacement. This process is a little noisy but not nearly as much as jackhammering or using the heavy drilling equipment.

The picture below is of the underground area looking toward Jackson Avenue.

The picture above is of the bridge system used to access the VMC apartments. Additional cross bracing was added just after I took the picture for safety.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Construction Update - November 19, 2009

We have made some good progress on the 200 Block of S. Gay Street as evidenced by the picture above. Crews are in the process of finishing up utility work and other crews have begun forming up the new sidewalk. We hope to pour concrete here tomorrow. It is hard to get a picture that will reflect how the sidewalk will look but if you get by there you can notice the location of the storm drains which will be at the curb. The road will be much more narrow, I think, than most people are aware of to accommodate a wider sidewalk with bump-outs and tree wells.

Work has now also started on the western sidewalk in front of the VMC as we had hoped (see below). We have removed the sidewalk for a length of eight of the columns and are now removing the old deteriorating beams, many of which we have now found were not even attached and basically crumble when disturbed. It is very evident that this project is very much needed.

KUB crews are moving forward as we had expected in energizing the new electric service and we can expect them to notify customers on the block in the next few weeks as outages are scheduled. I hope to be in that loop as well so I can notify folks here.

During the initial phase we left the sidewalk over into the VMC apartments (see above).

The bridge we plan to install over into the VMC apartments has already been constructed (see above).

Holes were bored in the old sidewalk and saw cuts made in the hope that entire sections of sidewalk could be removed at once and, as you can see from the above photo, so far we have had success in that effort. If we are able to continue with this process, this will save much time as well as noise and dust. We plan to begin reforming the new sidewalk early next week and will take precautions this weekend in case of rain. When we graded and repaved the underground area, we made sure to grade it such that all water underground flows away from the buildings and onto the lower Jackson Avenue area.

I have set up our next meeting for the 100 Block Streetscapes Project for November 30, 2009 at 5:00 pm at the Emporium to discuss latest developments and other issues. I will post an agenda soon and a press release will go out this week.

I am happy to report that City Council approved the purchase of the parking lot there on Jackson Avenue with closing to occur in late December, 2009. We are discussing various ways to improve and control that lot to help meet the needs of the Downtown area.

As always, thanks for your interest.