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.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Construction Update - November 12, 2009

As we all had hoped, work is progressing as planned on the 200 Block of S. Gay Street. We had hoped to begin reforming the new sidewalk this week but a rethinking by KUB of future sewer service will require additional excavation within the new sidewalk area. As a result the new sidewalk work will begin next week and this new design will serve the area even better in the future. KUB electric crews have made substantial progress in the last week with some very complex and critical work. Hopefully in a couple of weeks the first vault to be abandoned under the east sidewalk can be removed so we can proceed even further with our preliminary work on the east sidewalk. The picture below, although not one of my better pictures, shows the extent of the future sidewalk. A couple of the future street light bases are also now in place on the western sidewalk of the 200 Block.

I am also happy to report that we will begin sidewalk reconstruction in the 100 Block of S. Gay Street on Tuesday, November 17, 2009. This phase of work will involve cutting the existing sidewalk into large pieces for easier removal and then forming and pouring concrete to jacket the columns with new beams and lastly forming the new sidewalk. The area should only be daylighted no more than two days. The process of sidewalk removal should take around four to six hours. The entire process for each three column section will be two weeks or so. We will be able to more accurately estimate timing after this first section is completed. Also we will be forming the new pathway around the construction site and bridging over into the apartments into the VMC building so we will have a chance to correct any issues that may come from that process before we get to the more active areas of the block.

The picture below shows the beginning point of the sidewalk construction along Jackson Avenue.The blues lines indicate the location of future beams and also the column locations. The work will begin very near the street sign pole location on the right of the picture.

The first phase of work will probably end around the white circle indicating a column in the picture below. This will be a span of six underground columns.

Much work has been accomplished underground as well as is shown on the next two pictures below. A new sidewalk has been poured underground to replace the sidewalk that was broken up in construction. Concrete jackets will be formed around the columns as we replace each section of sidewalk.

In the picture above, it is interesting to note the old water main which served an ancient fire hydrant which has been out of service for many years.

This picture was taken in the middle of the street in the 200 Block and shows a storm drain, probably from the 1919 era which is completely blocked up with debris.

The Treble Clef statue was successfully moved in one piece last Thursday and we hope to erect one of the City Christmas trees here soon.
Lastly for those of you interested in the Jackson Avenue parking lot, the proposal to purchase this property is on the City Council agenda for Tuesday night, November 17, 2009.
I am hoping to set a meeting up to further discuss the ongoing construction as well as to explore ideas concerning advertising and/or signage among other topics. This meeting will likely be the end of November of first of December. Please let me know if you would like me to place any items on the agenda for discussion.
Thanks for your continued interest.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Construction Update - November 5, 2009

Our work on the 200 Block of S. Gay Street is proceeding as we have planned. Most of the utility work is being completed. We had a little work in the intersection of Vine Avenue but were able to keep at least one lane of Vine Avenue open at all times. The next phase of work over the next week or so will involve hauling in rock for the finish grade and then hopefully pouring concrete in two weeks. We believe we can have the new sidewalk and possibly the new roadway in place by the first week of December and finish up the eastern sidewalk by Christmas.

You probably have noticed the Treble Clef statue being removed today. My understanding is that a new statue will be commissioned possibly using some of the old trolley rails. The Treble Clef will hopefully be restored and back in place at the Knoxville Arboretum.

If you have been anywhere near the sidewalk on the western side of the 100 Block of S. Gay Street near Jackson Avenue, you may have noticed the stringline markings and other details placed there in anticipation of the work in a couple of weeks. Work is going on underground there around the old columns and we are also pumping in concrete and bringing in the stone needed to restore the old sidewalk underground. Everyone is anxious to get started here and I will be blogging more about this soon.

It is First Friday tomorrow night and an exciting Woodworkers Exhibit is going on at the Emporium which is sure to bring in a lot of folks. The Contractor has been allowing the artists to offload their exhibits this week. The weather is supposed to be very nice so I hope folks can come down and enjoy the shops and restaurants on the 100 Block of S. Gay Street.

Unarmed Merchants, Nama, and Havana Nights have all been particularly impacted by our construction so please patronize them if you can.

Congratulations to our five new Council members, Nick Pavlis, Duane Grieve, Brenda Palmer, Daniel Brown, and Nick Della Volpe. I have been privileged to work with some of these fine folks in the past and look forward to working with all of them in the future.

Unfortunately, I have still not been able to get back to my everyday work but am hopeful that everything will get back to normal soon.

Thanks for your interest.