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Front Page - Friday, March 2, 2018

MLK Boulevard paving, safety project begins

Repaving work begins March 5 on a one-mile stretch of ML King Boulevard between Georgia and Central Avenues. The project, which will cost between $800,000 and $900,000, will occur in four phases and is expected to take 45 days to complete.

The repaving will include a redesign of the street that will transition the number of vehicle lanes from two in each direction to one in each direction, with a center turn lane and dedicated bike lanes on either side.

The redesign of the street will have the effect of slowing traffic and vehicle speeds along the corridor, which connects Chattanooga’s downtown Innovation District to the University of Tennessee Chattanooga campus and densely populated residential neighborhoods of ML King and Highland Park.

The redesign will also result in the creation of about 40 new on-street parking spaces between University and Peeples Avenues.

“During rush hour in the morning and afternoon, the redesign might have the effect of extending a car trip by about five minutes from one end of the ML King and Bailey Avenue corridor to the other,” says Blythe Bailey, administrator for Chattanooga’s Department of Transportation, which is coordinating the paving and safety project

“There should be little travel time difference during majority of the day. The result will be a safer, more welcoming and more vibrant thoroughfare that connects more students and families more easily to downtown.

“Instead of a highway in a neighborhood, we’ll have a place where people are safer and feel more comfortable.”

“Residents, businesses, and institutions along ML King have been asking us to make these enhancements to the street, and we’re eager to get moving,” says Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. “While any repaving project is going to create some temporary inconvenience, we know we’ll enjoy a new corridor that’s safer, healthier and more accessible for everyone.”

Information, including maps, alternate route recommendations and updates on project progress: Connect.Chattanooga.gov/mlkblvd, 423 643-5950.

Mitigation assistance grants for businesses affected by the repaving schedule might be available. Interested parties should contact Vanessa Jackson at the City of Chattanooga: 423 643-6706.