Thursday, August 12, 2010

Construction Update - August 12, 2010

The 100 Block of S. Gay Street has now reopened without any hitches that I am aware of. The next few pictures are of the roadway just before it was opened for traffic.

The next two pictures are of the road after opening. As we all expected, it is already getting heavy use.

The sidewalks are looking very nice as well

I could not resist posting a sketch of the above picture using an app on my Iphone.

The parking meter kiosks for the 100 Block are still being ordered and before those are installed we will begin an education process. The same machine will be used on the Jackson Avenue parking lot. This lot is set to be cleaned and restriped in early September. I will post more on this at a later date.

The large 20-25 foot Elm trees will be planted sometime in October and will require that we shut the road back down for about two days. I will work with folks on the Block to get the best time for that work.

The plants in the planters will be replaced soon as many have obviously not survived the heat and the landscaping around the Cradle of Country Music Park is ongoing.

About all that remains to be done on the Block is some cleanup and more caulking.

The Block Party planning is continuing with the projected date of the the Party being September 10, 2010. Also, the 100 block organizational meeting is at 5:30 PM on August 18th at the Emporium building.

Finally, it is long overdue to thank the folks who got the job done for us here.

Terry Snelling was our Job Superintendent from Southern Constructors and we were so lucky to have him in charge. You often hear the term "herding cats" and that is exactly what this complicated project was like. Lest we forget, we had one of the wettest years last year, one of the coldest stretches, and now one of the hottest summers on record. This combined with all if the redesigns and and unknown issues resulted in a monumental task just to get the job done anywhere near the projected date. Terry methodically worked through each challenge and issue getting the right folks at the right times with the right equipment to handle each task. On a job like this , the Superintendent is also responsible for each of the subcontractors. At various times on this job we had well over 50 folks working on various tasks. While all of this was going on Terry always kept an eye out for how it might effect the folks on the Block. Whenever he knew he was going to create a hardship, he went out of his way to find something he could do to make it up to folks if he could. You don't often see that type of caring on these types of jobs.

Terry and his crew actually became a part of the fabric of the Block and went out of their way many times to assist anyone there needing help. His folks were courteous and hard working at all times. Alex, J.R., Jerry and many others who were out there almost all of the time really went above the call of the duty, I thought, in their dealings with the public. It is a testament to the folks at Southern Constructors that they have folks in their employ with this type of respect. Thanks to Richard Huskey, Owner, and to Mike Gray who handled the financial issues and project management for Southern. Those guys all did a great job.

Also many of the subs were equally as helpful on this job. Blount Excavating had most of the heavy equipment and Roger Williams was usually the guy in charge and operating the equipment for them. He was the big guy out there sometimes directing crews but also oftentimes directing traffic, or helping folks move in, or giving directions to folks, or helping folks park correctly. He and Len Smith and his crews played a big role in our success here.

Massey Electric folks also did a great job working with us and KUB. Thanks to Mike and Andy and the rest of those crews as well.

From the Public Sector end, we really had to have a lot of coordination with the various utilities particularly. Everette Noe, Gordon Bryant, and Bill Grady were the engineers who really helped make it happen. Jason Cole with KUB was their inspector and Jason's assistance was really invaluable to our timeline.

Andrew Luttrell was the Inspector on site from City Engineering and he was another integral part to getting this job done. His timely suggestions and expertise at critical times played a huge role in our success.

Robin Tipton was the City Engineer responsible for this project and she was just remarkable. I had worked with Robin some many years ago but her knowledge and caring and thoughtfulness here really made a huge difference and I was so impressed with her.

As a surveyor myself, I must acknowledge the huge contributions made by our City Surveyors, Russ, Rusty and Craig. So many problems were avoided by their project knowledge and redesigns in the field.

Others involved in the City were Engineers Tom Clabo, Brent Johnson, and Director Steve King.

Folks in the City of Knoxville should be proud that we have such a professional staff on board.

Folks in my shop were also a great resource and those folks would include Bill Lyons, Sr. Director of Policy and Communications, Hannah Parker, Anne Wallace, Bob Whetsel, and Randy Kenner.

Folks involved from Vaughn and Melton included John Kenst, Andrew Hutsell, and David Harrell to name a few. Ross/Fowler had the landscape architecture part of the job and Mike Fowler was our resource there.

Mickey Mallone, Director of Special Events for the City, Michelle Hummel of the CBID, Bobby Hubbs, Mark Fortner, and Brad Anders of KPD were also folks who assisted us.

There are, of course, many others to thank but I have already gone on too long.

I would be remiss if I did not thank Mayor Haslam and the members of City Council for having the courage to move this complicated yet much needed project forward.

Most of all the thanks go to all of the folks on the 100 Block who lived through the dust, noise, weather, utility outages, unknown pathways, and general disruptions of their lives. This is one of the most densely populated ares of our region so the impact here was considerable.

Your patience and understanding for the last 18 months has been amazing.

It has been my great honor to get to know many folks on the block and I look forward to continuing those relationships.

All of you made this project work so thank you all for a job well done.

My posts here will probably not be as frequent but as issues arise I will continue to try to keep you informed. Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can ever help you in any way.
As always, thanks for your interest.


  1. Great summary of the past 18 months, thanks for all you did to keep us informed Rick. We look forward to taking advantage of the amazing work everyone has contributed to down here, and soaking it all in.

  2. I'd like to second that thank you, to everyone who had a hand in this project. I have the highest praise to all that were involved. It was a long 18 months but those of us who live on the 100 block will appreciate all that you have done for years and years to come! Thanks again, we love our new street!