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.