MLK Boulevard project will also make it easier to walk

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – We have new details now on the redesign of Martin Luther King Boulevard in Downtown Chattanooga.

Work began today on the 45 day project.

Construction on ML King Boulevard began, as crews prepare the sidewalks and curbs for the major repaving project starting Monday.

Along with the repaving, the city is restructuring the street from four lanes to just three.

The new road will have one lane of traffic traveling each way, a center turn lane, and two new bicycle lanes.

CDOT Administrator Blythe Bailey tells us “We walked up and down the street a couple of weeks ago, and a couple of folks we interacted with acknowledged that it’s not necessarily fun to live on the side of a road that’s a highway, when there’s a lot of fast cars. And so, taking it down to three lanes will be more comfortable for people. That will be good for people who live on the street, as well as people that have businesses on the street, and customers. And the residents have asked for this project for a long time.”

The MLK neighborhood has changed significantly since the era of the Big Nine.

Now, the boulevard goes both ways and is filled with a lot more college students.

Former city council member Yusuf Hakeem says “Over the years, we’ve had that mindset of inclusion and diversity. And I think that if you look at ML King Boulevard today, that is what we have.”

The city hopes this new design will connect the neighborhood with the rest of the downtown community.

Bailey adds “At CDOT, when we started almost five years ago, we made the statement that our streets are also great public places, and they bring people together both driving, walking, biking, using transit. So we try to make sure those streets accomplish all of those things.”

Crews will close the the one-mile stretch of the boulevard in four phases, and Bailey says the city will get the project done around the end of April or early May.

You can learn more about the project here.

Categories: Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Local News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *