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POSTED December 5, 2016

The intensive work to remove the last of the trolley tracks from the center of a two-block section of Cumberland Avenue has been completed - three days ahead of schedule.

A few days before Thanksgiving, the work began: Westbound commuters were shifted to the north side of the road so that a City contractor could safely remove buried pre-World War II trolley tracks from the center of Cumberland Avenue.


The removal of the heavy metal tracks was part of the City’s $17 million reconstruction of Cumberland Avenue between the Alcoa Highway ramps and 17th Street. The abandoned tracks served no purpose, and the last remaining trolley tracks between 17th and 19th streets had to be removed so that they wouldn't poke above the lower elevation of the reconstructed street.

Today, the last step in the project - restoring left turns at 18th and North 19th streets - was completed.

All paving operations needed to completed and the left turns restored by the morning of Thursday, Dec. 8 – prior to UT graduation ceremonies.

The Southern Constructors Inc. crews beat that deadline by more than half a week.


Meanwhile, the City’s reconstruction of Cumberland Avenue is more than halfway completed. The project began with Knoxville Utilities Board infrastructure improvements in April 2015, and it’s scheduled to be completed by August 2017. The existing four-lane Cumberland between 22nd and 17th streets is being remade into a safer, more pedestrian-friendly corridor with a three-lane cross section, a raised median and left-turn lanes at intersections. An earlier phase of work on the western end of Cumberland focused on improving traffic flow between the Alcoa Highway ramps and 22nd Street; that phase finished at the end of 2015, on time and under budget.

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