Cumberland Avenue trolley tracks excavation begins Tuesday night

Crews will start excavating and removing buried pre-World War II trolley tracks from the center of Cumberland Avenue overnight Tuesday.

Southern Constructors Inc. will begin the trolley track removal at midnight Tuesday. The work requires a 10-day lane shift and overnight closure of the westbound lane of Cumberland Avenue for nine consecutive nights. The excavation work is scheduled to be completed by the end of the day on Thursday, Sept. 15. 

During the work, traffic will be shifted along a three-block section of Cumberland, between 19th and 22nd streets. No left turns will be allowed through the excavation zone, including on intersecting side streets. 

The westbound lane of Cumberland Avenue between 19th and 22nd streets will be closed completely each night from midnight to 6 a.m. During the closure, drivers will be detoured off Cumberland to 19th Street, to Clinch Avenue and to 22nd Street before coming back onto Cumberland.

The eastbound lane of traffic will remain open at all times. 

"The decision to close a section of westbound Cumberland at night wasn’t made lightly,” said Anne Wallace, the city of Knoxville's Deputy Director of Redevelopment. “However, safety is key – both to motorists and to the construction crew. It was necessary to eliminate conflicts between heavy machinery and vehicles for this phase.”

Wallace said the night-time construction work will be noisy at times, but working overnight will cut the time needed to finish the work by more than half. 

The excavation was purposefully scheduled during a 10-day period with no University of Tennessee home football games. 

The city's Cumberland Avenue reconstruction project is now past the halfway mark. The work is scheduled to be completed by August 2017.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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