Big Ears, a marathon and construction prompt lots of Knoxville road closures this weekend
An earlier version of this article mistakenly listed the wrong date for the Dogwood Arts Chalk Walk, which will be Saturday, April 1, at Market Square. We regret the error.
Drivers trying to get around Knoxville this weekend will have to contend not only with more traffic, but also construction, runners, a parade and festival-goers gathering for a busy few days.
Before you head out to brunch, the grocery store, religious services or even to attend one of this weekend's events, bear this in mind: between March 31 and April 2, Knoxville will be host to multiple large-scale events, including the Big Ears Festival, the Knoxville Marathon and the Dogwood Arts’ Chalk Walk.
Plus add in the Smoky Mountain Regional Robotics Competition at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum, the Tennessee Miracle Spring Classic youth basketball tournament at the Knoxville Convention Center, the Eagles concert April 1 at Thompson-Boling Arena, and a One Knox home soccer match that same night at Regal Soccer Stadium at the University of Tennessee campus.
Here are the roads to avoid and when to reroute this weekend:
Big Ears Festival Street Party, Friday-Saturday
In preparation for the weekend's Big Ears Festival, parade and free street party, starting at 8 a.m. Friday, Depot Avenue between Williams and North Central streets will be closed until 10 p.m. Saturday to accommodate events at the Southern Railway Station and The Mill & Mine, according to a release from the city.
Bridge work along Interstate 40 downtown, Friday-Monday
Lanes will be closed to traffic from Friday night until early Monday on Interstate 40 East and West between mile markers 386.6 and 387.8 in downtown Knoxville while crews work to repair the I-40 bridge over 17th Street. Weather permitting, the I-40 lane closures will be in place around the clock from Friday night until 6 a.m. Monday, to allow for the installation of traffic control devices and texture coating of the bridge, and will carry over to Interstate 275, and to Alcoa Highway (US129/SR115). This is scheduled as the final of three weekends of bridge repair work in this area, the Tennessee Department of Transportation announced.
Dogwood Arts Chalk Walk, Saturday
The same roads near Market Square downtown that are closed during farmers markets will be closed to vehicular traffic 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday for the Dogwood Arts Chalk Walk, when more than 300 artists and creative teams will be creating masterpieces on the grounds of Market Square and nearby sidewalks, according to a release from the city. Roads closed will be Market Street between Union and Church avenues, Union between Walnut and Gay streets and Clinch Avenue between Walnut and Gay.
Big Ears Festival Parade, Saturday
Roads and on-street parking along the Big Ears Festival parade route will closed between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday. The parade will begin at 1 p.m. from the staging area at Willow and Patton avenues, under James White Parkway, and will go west on Willow and turn right on North Central Street, turn left on Jackson Avenue through the Old City, turn right on Gay Street, go over the bridge, turn right on Depot and disband at the street party at Depot Avenue and Ogden Street. Depot between Williams and North Central streets will remain closed until 10 p.m.
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Covenant Health 5K and Kids’ Run, Saturday
With World’s Fair Park serving as the marathon staging area for all Knoxville Marathon events Saturday and Sunday, Clinch Avenue between Henley Street and World’s Fair Park Drive and World’s Fair Park Drive between Clinch and Grand avenues will be closed most of the weekend. Course maps are available online at knoxvillemarathon.com/course-maps.
Roads and intersections along Saturday's race routes will be closed between 4 and 8:30 p.m. that day. The Kids’ Run will start at 5 p.m. Saturday on Clinch Avenue, go north on World’s Fair Park Drive, south on 11th Street, make a loop on Clinch, and circle back to the park.
The 5K race will begin at 7 p.m., going from World’s Fair Park on Clinch Avenue through the Fort Sanders neighborhood, using mostly White Avenue for the westbound path and Forest and Grand avenues for the return trip. These roads and those that cross the race route will be closed to through traffic, including 17th Street, which the route crosses twice. Drivers in the area Saturday evening should expect to be stopped at intersections that cross the route; KPD officers positioned at road closures will allow cars to cross when there’s a break between runners.
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Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon and Half Marathon, Sunday
Roads along the half and full marathon routes will have partial closures between 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Both races will begin on Clinch Avenue on the World’s Fair Park, connect to Philip Fulmer Way to Neyland Drive, to Kingston Pike through the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood. The eastbound route goes along Third Creek Greenway, Tyson Park and through the Fort Sanders neighborhood via Forest Avenue to World’s Fair Park.
The half marathon ends there, while the full marathon continues through the Old City into the Fourth & Gill neighborhood, takes a loop through East Knoxville including East Fifth and Washington Avenue and crosses Magnolia Avenue at North Bertrand. The route picks up Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue to East Summit Hill behind downtown to East Hill Avenue and James White Parkway, with a turn through South Knoxville via Island Home and Sevier avenues before heading back to World’s Fair Park via Gay Street through Market Square. Knoxville Police Department officers working security for the event will block intersections on the marathon route and allow vehicles to cross with caution during breaks between runners. Closures along Kingston Pike will be limited to one lane, allowing residents attending churches in the area access to driveways.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Big Ears, a marathon and construction mean Knoxville road closures