Knoxville, TN - A two-month closure of a section of South Central Street downtown begins Tuesday, July 22, as Knoxville Utilities Board makes major upgrades to its sewer, water and electric infrastructure.

 To access the State Street Garage, the Dwight Kessel Garage and other destinations, City officials recommend two alternate routes:

  •   Hall of Fame Drive to Church Avenue, which connects to State Street and allows commuters to reach the State Street Garage.

 Heading south on Hall of Fame Drive, turn right onto Church Avenue, then right off Church onto State Street, and the garage will be on the right in one block.

  •   James White Parkway, taking the Cumberland Avenue exit ramp, which will connect commuters with either State Street or Gay Street.

 To access the Kessel Garage and private garage parking, one route would be to take James White Parkway to the Cumberland Avenue exit, take a left onto Gay Street, then a left onto Hill Avenue to access garages fronting Hill Avenue.

 The KUB work, which is scheduled through September 26, will close Central Street between Union Avenue and Summit Hill Drive, as well as Commerce Avenue off of Central.

It’s part of KUB’s major $8.4 million Downtown Century II Utilities Upgrade Project to improve utility systems and provide reliable services now and through KUB’s second century.

“This utility infrastructure upgrade downtown has long been needed, but we know it will present a challenge for a while,” said City Downtown Coordinator Rick Emmett. “We ask that people be patient and allow a few extra minutes getting to their parking garages on work mornings, especially when the closure starts.

“We opted to ask KUB to do the work intensely over two months with a complete road closure, which downtown businesses and residents told us was preferable to having intermittent and confusing openings and closures over a much longer time.”

This is the first of multiple phases of work scheduled to be done in this area. In coming years, this section of downtown will see both new private development construction and City Streetscape improvements.

 “We know these series of improvements will be inconvenient for commuters, but the end result will be modernized, reliable utility services downtown, new residential development and a pedestrian-friendly, aesthetically-pleasing corridor,” Emmett said. “We want to thank everyone in advance for their patience.”

 Meanwhile, additional KUB work starting in the coming days will prompt traffic adjustments on two other major streets:

  •    South Gay Street, 400 block

From 4 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, July 20, the southbound lanes at 411 S. Gay Street will be closed while workers perform an emergency water leak repair. Flagmen will alternate traffic using the northbound lanes.

  •    Forest Avenue, between 17th Street and 22nd Street

KUB will be replacing utility poles in phases, with a series of street closures from Monday, July 21, to Monday, Aug. 4.