(WBIR- Knoxville) Traffic is picking up in the Cumberland Avenue area this week as students head back to campus.
Drivers are seeing lots of congestion in the area due to the increase in people and traffic from the new Walmart at University Commons.
More than 4,700 freshmen, their families, and returning upperclassmen are expected this weekend.
UT Police Department said traffic will be heavier around campus this weekend, but they will have officers out to help with the added traffic.
The City of Knoxville has plans to ease the congestion along Cumberland Avenue, but those will not be in place until fall 2017, said Anne Wallace, project manager for the City of Knoxville.
The first phase of the Cumberland Avenue Project will start toward the end of this year or beginning of next year and run approximately eight months, she said.
Construction will stop during football season 2015, and the second phase will run from December 2015 to fall of 2017.
This project will remove a lane of traffic on either of the road, allowing for more sidewalk space. It will also control left-turn movement by adding a median and directing left-turn movement to the side streets instead of each individual curb cut, Wallace said.
"Part of the reason we've structured the phase one and phase two the way we have is to try and minimize impact and help get people through the various activities and events that draw people to the campus area and to downtown," she said.
In the meantime, Wallace suggests drivers try to avoid Cumberland Avenue during peak traffic times between 3 and 6 p.m. or take alternative routes, such as White Avenue or Lake Avenue.
Wallace said, "We are working to make Cumberland avenue a much more attractive, a much more vibrant, safe, and exciting place to be, and we know that it's going to take some time and effort, but we also ask for folks patience."