Children's Hospital plans detours for Cumberland Ave. construction | News
(WBIR- Near UT Campus) Utility work on the Cumberland Avenue Strip starts Monday, bringing major traffic changes to the area. Drivers can expect lane closures from West Volunteer Boulevard to 21st Street.
City leaders answered questions Thursday night about the project and the upcoming traffic concerns. While city officials told those at the meeting that the construction impact may be "painful," the end result will help ease traffic.
East Tennessee Children's Hospital is preparing for the construction and making plans to help patients and staff navigate around the the limited lanes that will be open on Cumberland Avenue.
"Most of that impact will be felt by our staff, and we've worked very closely with our staff once we knew the plans were in place to be able to have alternatives for them," McKinley said.
The hospital is using the Internet, social media, pamphlets, and billboards to inform patients and visitors about the detours, McKinley said, and the city will put up signage to indicate the changes.
Melanie Taylor, a hospital visitor, said the signs marking the detours will be important, especially for people rushing to the hospital from outlying counties.
"If your child's having an allergic reaction to something and you're trying to get them here and you don't know the area, then, you know, it's bad," Taylor said.
McKinley said he believes the traffic flow to 22nd Street will improve and increase after the first initial eight months of construction, but it will mean taking alternative routes for a little while to achieve a better end result.
"I think we're going to be able to manage it very well considering the inconveniences that we know we will experience," Rudy McKinley, vice president of operations at ETCH, said.
The hospital is encouraging drivers to take exit 387 on 17th Street, then turn right on Clinch Avenue. If someone is coming from South Knoxville across the Henley Street Bridge, use Clinch Avenue. Ambulance providers have been briefed on all of the road changes.
The entire project is expected to cost $16.87 million and should wrap up in August 2017. The City of Knoxville also released a detour routing map to help drivers plan their commutes.
Utilities Phase 1 (from West Volunteer Boulevard to 22nd Street)
Begins April 6 through June 6
8 week duration
Installation of gas, water and sewer lines
1 eastbound and 1 westbound lane of traffic shifted to south side of Cumberland Avenue
At least one driveway access will be maintained and pedestrian access will be maintained during business hours
Mid-block left turns will not be permitted during construction