The Phase V undertaking, while smaller in area and shorter in distance than that of the work done in Phase IV, is one of the most difficult phases undertaken thus far in the undergrounding project. This is due in part to the two city streets that it crosses and the traffic counts for both streets in that area. Additionally, Sevier County Electric System has indicated that the electrical intricacies of this phase are their most challenging thus far. As in Phase IV, the construction of underground duct banks along the affected streets will be built to house the installation of electrical, gas, telephone and cable lines. Work at intersections of the Parkway including Reagan Drive, Maples Lane and Historic Nature Trail/Airport Road will be particularly challenging.
Contractors have pledged to keep disruption of streets and sidewalks to a minimum. Work will effectively halt during peak visitor periods to reduce traffic consequences to a minimum. New street and pedestrian lighting as well as new benches and trash receptacles will be strategically placed along the street. New sidewalks on public right-of-ways and distinctive crosswalks will be installed when the duct work is complete. Also, various planters will be mounted to accommodate seasonal plantings and small trees.
Although very expensive and occasionally frustrating from a traffic point of view the streetscaping project is a major step forward for Gatlinburg. It moves us closer to the goal of having Gatlinburg’s streets and primary tourist area continue to be America’s favorite walking venue. Job well done!!