(WBIR) Plans to overhaul the Cumberland Avenue Corridor are now on hold after no one bid on the project's first phase, a $4 million redesign from Alcoa Highway to 22nd Street that was supposed to take six months to finish.
Now, though, Knoxville leaders say they will reassess the bid documents they issued in order to bring in a developer, and figure out why no one submitted a proposal. The project went out for bid in early March and the deadline was Thursday.
"We're disappointed that the project will be delayed but hopefully we can get the issues taken care of," said Jesse Mayshark, the city's communication director.
Mayshark said at this point officials didn't know how long it would take to rebid the proposal.
Bob Whetsel, the city's director of redevelopment, said four contractors initially attended the pre-bid meeting.
"We want to go back and talk with them and see what it was that concerned them about bidding this project," he added. "Obviously, this delays the project again, but we're going to move forward and figure out what we need to do."
The Phase I work included installing new underground stormwater and gas lines to support new commercial and residential developments in the area. The project also was supposed to add and widen sidewalks, resurface the road and bring in new, higher-performing traffic signals.
Officials, once Phase I was completed, immediately planned to being the larger, second part, a $13 million initiative that would redesign Cumberland Avenue from 22nd Street to 16th Street. That work includes new underground utilities, new signals, new sidewalks, the addition of turn lanes and a new median. It also includes new landscaping, benches and pedestrian-scaled lighting.
"It's a very important project for us to change the face of Cumberland Avenue from 'The Strip' that it is to an economic center - something that's friendly to businesses in that area," Whetsel said.
In early March, city officials noted that the proposed $17 million investment into the corridor so far has already leveraged more than $100 million in investment from private developers.