Open for Business!

We love the beautiful historic architecture in Downtown Knoxville. It’s one of the many qualities that give downtown her charm. But maintaining that lovely historic quality requires work, and we’ve got two big projects underway.

  • On Monday, September 16, 2019, the cobblestone ramps at the intersection of Jackson Ave and Gay St closed to be removed and restored. 
  • On Sunday, November 3, 2019, the Broadway viaduct over the Norfolk Southern Railroad closed to remove and replace the existing bridge. 

When visiting this part of downtown you’ll find a few barriers. But you’ll also find restaurants, tap rooms, whiskey distilleries, retail, salons, event venues, and all types of businesses open and ready for customers! Here’s a quick list of questions – and answers – to help navigate this journey.

Are businesses open?

Yes, yes, yes! Businesses on Jackson Ave, businesses in the Old City, and businesses on Gay St are open as usual and ready for business.

Are the streets open?

Yes, streets are open throughout the projects. Only the areas adjacent to the ramps and viaduct will be closed.

  • Jackson Ave is open except for a small section at the intersection of Gay St. You can access businesses on Jackson west of Gay from Broadway and businesses east of Gay from State or Central.
  • Broadway Ave is open both north and south of the viaduct area. You can access businesses in the Broadway and Jackson area via Henley or Summit Hill Dr. World’s Fair Park Dr and Oak Ave will also remain open at the Broadway/Jackson intersection.

Where do I park?

Parking lots are all open.

If you’re heading to parking areas on Jackson west of Gay St, you’ll need to access Jackson from Broadway. Remember, you can access Broadway via Henley or Summit Hill. You can continue to access the parking lots under James White Parkway or any parking area on Jackson east of Gay St from Central St or State St.

Are the sidewalks open?

Yes. Sidewalks on Gay St, Jackson Ave, and throughout the Old City are open. Only the areas adjacent to ramps and viaduct will be closed. An east-west pedestrian walkway will remain open under Gay St throughout construction so you can get to all the businesses on Jackson Ave.

If I’m driving, how do I get to Jackson Ave?

If you're driving from north of downtown, the easiest route is going to be Gay St to Summit Hill.

  • If you're interested in going to Jackson Ave west of Gay St (Sweet Ps, The Standard, Knox Whiskey Works, Balter Beer, etc), turn right on Summit Hill and then take another right on Broadway. You'll see detour signs along the way.  
  • If you're interested in going to Jackson Ave east of Gay St (Jackson Terminal, Pour Taproom, PostModern Spirits, Curious Dog, Awaken Coffee, etc), turn left on Summit and then take another left on Central. You can also still get to this area via Central from north of downtown.

If you're driving from south, east, or west of downtown, there really isn't much of a change. Just remember once you get to downtown the easiest way to Jackson Ave is going to be from Summit Hill. And once you park, there's an east-west pedestrian walkway that will be open under Gay St throughout construction so you can get to all the businesses on Jackson Ave.

If I’m walking from Gay Street or Market Square, how do I get to Jackson Ave?

When you get to the intersection of Gay St and Jackson Ave, look for the staircase with the colorful mural and super-cool lighting at the intersection just north of Gay St. An east-west pedestrian walkway will remain open under Gay St throughout construction. When you get to the bottom of the steps, turn left or right and you’ll find businesses open in both directions. And there will be directional signage to guide your way.

You can take the staircase at Jackson and Gay to get to all the businesses on Jackson Ave. You can also access businesses west of Jackson via Broadway. There’s no impact to State St or Central St so you can get to the Old City by walking down Summit Hill and turning down State or Central. Sidewalks, roads, and parking are open. If you're interested in a path that doesn't include the stairs, we recommend Gay St to Summit Hill to State St.

And the free trolleys will still be running. The Green Line will take you between Market Square, Gay St, and the Old City. A Green Line trolley comes around about every 10 minutes. Monday through Thursday, 7am to 8pm; Friday, 7am to 10pm; and Saturday, 9am to 10pm. Sundays are for walking.

Why is this happening?

Maintaining our historic city takes work.

  • The Jackson Ave ramps are 100 years old (built in 1919-1920) and they need some work! Plans are to reuse the cobblestone bricks to maintain the historic feel of the new, much-improved bridge. The timeline is estimated to be about a year.
  • The Broadway Ave viaduct (built in 1927) also needs repair. The outdated bridge will be replaced with a new structure including bike lanes and sidewalks. The timeline is estimated to be three years.

Is there a map that shows parking and how to get around?

Yep, we've got one of those below. You can also download it here.

Still want more information?

You can find details on these projects at knoxvilletn.gov/jacksonavenue and tn.gov/projects.

Please show the businesses in this area some extra support during these projects!