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Work to upgrade utilities at the University of Tennessee will impact travel on Cumberland Avenue for the next several months.

UT is upgrading its steam line, which runs underneath Cumberland Avenue near Henley Street. The UT steam plant provides heating and hot water for more than 150 buildings using about 11 miles of underground steam pipes. The university wants to transition from using coal to natural gas.

Starting this week, workers will be relocating gas and sewer lines before the steam line work begins. The first phase of work will likely close one lane of Cumberland Avenue between 11th and 13th streets, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Once that is done, the bigger project will begin. The second round of work will close two lanes of Cumberland Avenue between 11th and 13th streets.

Officials say the work should be completed by August 10.

Once the two lanes of Cumberland are closed, eastbound commuters will shift to the two westbound lanes. Westbound commuters will be detoured to 11th Street, then to Clinch Avenue and then to 16th Street.

The City's Civil Engineering Division recommends that westbound motorists take a different route, since the detour route will squeeze traffic from a normal two lanes to a single lane. One suggested alternative route: Go west on Western Avenue to Middlebrook Pike and on to Sutherland Avenue.

The road work will also impact sidewalks on Cumberland Avenue between 11th and 13th streets, one side of the road at a time.

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