Welcome to the 100 Block
Many Knoxvillians, even those who live, work, or spend time in downtown Knoxville may not know that the street and sidewalks on 100 Block of Gay Street are actually built on a bridge-like support structure, one full story above the original street level.
At that time, Knoxville’s railroad tracks were constantly busy moving people and goods to and from downtown and out across the country.
The at-grade railroad crossing at Gay Street had become a safety hazard and an impediment to commerce, and the city constructed the viaduct to move people and vehicles across the railroad tracks safely and efficiently.
The Gay Street viaduct was rebuilt by the Tennessee Department of Transportation in 2005-2006, but the support structure that is holding up the 100 Block has not undergone major repairs since it was built in 1919, until 2009.
The completed construction project included the rebuilding of the support structures, relocated and realigned all utilities and replaced surface-level streetscape features. While the primary purpose of the construction was to fix old and compromised infrastructure, the project’s surface-level design included cosmetic enhancements like wider sidewalks, street trees, and a sidewalk furnishing zone for features like benches, bike racks, etc. that have significantly improved the aesthetic condition of the block.