Thursday, April 29, 2010

Construction Update - April 29, 2010

The 200 Block of S. Gay Street is now open after being closed for nearly a year. We had hoped to open it last Monday but all of the rain created issues with the striping required before reopening the roadway to traffic. We also had folks at the City cut back some of the tree branches around the streetlights while also adding some finishing touches to the street furnishings.

The eastern sidewalk at Vine Avenue was also completed with the colored concrete this past week and the crossing ramps are under construction.

We hope to finish up the last remaining section of the eastern sidewalk in the next two weeks so all of that sidewalk will be open for First Friday on May 7. The picture below is of the massive concrete slab poured to hold the foundation wall for the new sidewalk.

Work is also continuing on the Cradle of Country Music Park site with the short section of State Street being removed and converted to grass and trees. A new sidewalk will be constructed with curb and gutter along Summit Hill Drive next week (see picture below) across the now removed section of State Street. We will have a lane closure on Summit Hill from the entrance to the O.P. Jenkins parking area to just past Cradle of Country Music Park beginning Monday morning for around a week. Much of this work will be done during two evenings.

Parking meters will be bagged for 'no parking' on the O.P. Jenkins parking lot area beginning Monday so the Contractor can begin repaving this parking area on Tuesday. We plan to have it reopened on Thursday. This parking area will be in asphalt so the work should go quickly.

Work is continuing at the intersection of Vine Avenue in anticipation of finishing the first section of roadway on the 100 Block.

The old sidewalk along Cradle of Country Music Park has been removed and a new sidewalk has been built to better align with the new sidewalk on the 200 Block.

The picture below is of the 100 Block construction taken from Vine Avenue looking north. When I looked at this picture I thought about what a chaotic scene it must be for folks on the Block everyday. The good news is we have made significant progress and I know we have folks working who really know what they are doing.
Folks on the Block could help us out by reporting anyone they see marring our newly poured concrete surfaces. We have had many instances lately of someone taking a sharp object and slicing into the new concrete. When this happens, we have no choice but to take out that section and repour new concrete which further delays the project.
Work is going well enough now that we plan to move over onto the western sidewalk in front of the restaurants by the middle of next week. Work here will probably take around three weeks to complete. As we finish this work, we will also finish that section of roadway and begin the final colored concrete sections. This next section of work will end just past the Wells Fargo office at the door leading up to apartments.
I am tentatively planning a probable final meeting to update folks on our Streetscapes project at 5:30 pm on Monday May 10, 2010 at the Emporium. I will post more on that later.

Thanks for your interest.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Construction Update - April 22, 2010

As many of you have noticed, we now have street lights and other street furnishings on the 200 Block of S. Gay Street. If all goes as we hope the rest of this week, we are planning to completely reopen the 200 Block and also Vine Avenue to traffic on Monday, April 26.

Once the 200 Block is reopened, we will close the short section of State Street for removal and conversion into the Treble Clef Park. The existing sidewalk will be rebuilt to tie in with our new construction. We have already removed the old sidewalk (see picture below) in anticipation of that phase of construction.

The picture below is of the completed western sidewalk on the 200 Block of S. Gay Street.

Of course work is proceeding on the 100 Block as well. Last week we completed the widened sidewalk in front of the Emporium. I was surprised at how much additional sidewalk is now available for that area.

The widened sidewalk is being created further south to catch up to the portions of sidewalk being built over the underground areas. We are planning to finish up the last section of sidewalk in about two weeks.

We are also continuing to reconstruct the roadway from Vine Avenue going north as we complete the sidewalks on both sides of the 100 Block. Right now we have the roadway completely finished almost up to Olantays Havana Nights restaurant.
Please be aware that upon the reopening of the 200 Block of Gay Street roadway, we will begin work on the parking area in front of O.P. Jenkins. Our plan now is to close off that parking area completely on May 4 for resurfacing and striping, and to have it reopened no later than May 7. This will obviously be an inconvenience for those who park there as well as the businesses but we really have no choice and we will work hard to get this completed as quickly as possible. I think everyone will be pleased with the finished look. The new surface will be asphalt so this should happen quickly.
The result of all of this work will be that by First Friday on May 7, 2010, almost all of the work for the roadway and sidewalks, including the expanded parking areas, will be completed from Summit Hill through Vine Avenue extending into the 100 Block. The construction fences will be moved back to that area as well and the eastern sidewalk will be opened.
Around mid May we will move back over onto the western sidewalk in front of the restaurants to begin finishing those last sections. Of course we still must finish these sidewalks with the colored concrete.
Last, there was a small bit of excitement in the 100 Block Sunday afternoon as someone apparently found it amusing to catch one of the Contractors Porta-Pottys on fire. Thanks to Ollantay Corujo for the brief clip below, and to Stanton Webster for letting me know so I could inform the Contractor.
I am planning to have one last Streetscapes meeting around the middle of May and will let everyone know when I have that scheduled. If anyone has any concerns or questions for that meeting, please let me know in advance and I will make sure we have folk there to address those issues.

Thanks for your interest.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Construction Update - April 15, 2010

Work crews are making significant progress now that we have better weather. We have work proceeding in all areas of the work zone this week, including some additional sidewalk work in front of the Emporium.

With the new sidewalk poured in front of the facade, we have now moved over into the next and last section of sidewalk on the eastern sidewalk of the 100 Block of S. Gay Street.

Work crews this week have removed the old sidewalk and beams and have begun framing up for the new construction. As has often happened on this project, we have encountered some unexpected utility issues but we don't believe these will cause a delay at this time. We were also unable to take the sidewalks out as a whole as we had been able to do previously because the sidewalk and beams were apparently all poured as one some time ago. This caused the Contractor to have to jackhammer almost all of this sidewalk and manually remove it, which was a very dusty, noisy, and disruptive process.

When this section of sidewalk is complete in about two or three weeks, we now plan to begin on the western sidewalk in front of the restaurants at their request. My understanding is that they both have some remodeling planned to coincide with our construction. If all goes as we hope, we will begin this work in mid May.

The Vine Avenue intersection has worked out quite well and we hope to have the intersection in addition to the 200 Block roadway completely reopened by April 26.
The picture below is of some of the recently poured stained concrete in the intersection. We have also poured additional roadway in this area as well, while we are waiting on this section to cure.

In the week of April 26, we also plan to begin resurfacing and finishing the O.P. Jenkins parking lot which will provide some additional parking for the block upon completion. Of course the old section of State Street will be removed and incorporated into Treble Clef Park at that time as well.

Street lights and street furniture including benches and planters are being delivered and will be installed this week and next. The street lights are in the process of being installed this week and I think they are really looking good with the new sidewalk.

Around the first of June, we plan to finish up some electrical work at the intersection of Jackson Avenue which may necessitate some road closures.
I will post more about that when we have a better schedule.
As always, thanks for your interest.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Construction Update - April 8, 2010

Work is really progressing quickly now with better weather. Vine Avenue was closed this past Monday and so far we have not had many issues with it. We are making very good progress here. The waterline in the middle of the road has now been finished (the existing waterline here basically had to be abandoned and cut off since the new waterline was installed in the 200 Block of S. Gay Street). The pictures below reflect some of that work. By yesterday afternoon the Contractor had ordered concrete for a portion of Vine Avenue.

The sidewalks on the 200 Block are now basically completed and we think they look really good. There will still be a final dressing up but folks can now get an idea of what all of the sidewalks in the Streetscapes project will look like. The plan is to begin installing street lights and street furniture next week in anticipation of the reopening of the 200 Block and Vine Avenue in a few weeks. When this block is reopened, the Contractor plans to completely repave the OP Jenkins parking lot as well and this work will include the additional parking spaces. This work should go quickly so by sometime after the first of May we are hoping to have most of the work done from Summit Hill to Vine Avenue.

We are making a lot of gains on the 100 Block at the same time and have now poured the next section of sidewalk in front of the facade between the Emporium and the Sterchi Building. The next few pictures reflect this work. The last phase of work will probably start this week with the removal of the remaining older sidewalk on the eastern side of the 100 Block. This last stretch will provide the last area of some uncertainty as the support system will consist of some grade work, some retaining wall work, and some column work. If all goes as planned here, we hope to be able to complete this section by the end of May.

Below is a picture of the rebar in place in anticipation of concrete. With this much steel in place, this sidewalk should last another 100 years!

Below is a picture of the next section of sidewalk scheduled for completion.

When we finish the work on the eastern sidewalk, we will then turn efforts back over to the western sidewalk probably starting at the section nearer Vine Avenue and working our way north. The restaurant's there are all planning some remodeling and this works with their schedules. We can also begin finishing the road behind us as we proceed.
If this works as we hope we will be finishing up at Dewhirst Properties offices in June and will begin performing finish work in anticipation of our completion date of August 15, 2010.
KUB still has some electrical work to do at the Gay Street intersection with Jackson Avenue which may require some lane closures on Jackson and we are working with them to insure that is completed well before our completion date.
Thanks to all of you for your attendance at First Friday this month and for your continued understanding. It was dusty and windy down there yesterday and we are trying to put down water to hold the dust as best we can and Southern Constructors continues to have employees washing windows.
One last note of thanks to Southern Constructors and their subcontractors, particularly Blount Excavating and Massey Electric, on behalf of many of the businesses and residents of the 100 Block. Their helpfulness and courtesy to everyone there has been noticed and is greatly appreciated.

We are also grateful to Knoxville City Council for their support in seeing this project completed on time with some certainty and also for funding the management of the Jackson Avenue parking lot.
Thanks for your interest