The city of Knoxville announced that it will put overhead electrical transmission lines underground, rather than moving them into the alleys bordering Cumberland, when it begins construction on the Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project.
"We were looking at relocating above ground in the alley because at the time it was the least expensive option that accomplished our goal of removing the poles and wires from Cumberland," said Anne Wallace, the city's Cumberland Avenue project manager. "We felt like the cost of burying the lines could be somewhat prohibitive.
Wallance added that the alleys already had overhead electrical lines.
Initially, the city estimated that it would cost $1.2 million more to bury the lines than to relocate them, but "we had more in the budget to move the utilities than we expected," Wallace said.
The design also includes a three-lane cross section of traffic with a shared eastbound bike/travel lane, a two-way left-turn lane and wider sidewalks without utility poles. Knoxville Utilities Board said it will make improvements to gas, sewer and water lines in conjunction with the project.