A paving project in downtown Chattanooga has added benefits for bicyclists: a new bike corridor is being created from 20th Street to Riverfront Parkway along Chestnut Street.
"One of the goals of the plan was to make Chestnut a primary bike route," said Ed Tate, the city's pavement manager.
The $1.7 million paving project is taking place on Chestnut, Broad, Main, East 28th and Seventh streets downtown and on Shallowford Road from Lee Highway to Gunbarrel, Tate said.
He said the crews are working as quickly as possible, but completion depends on cooperative weather.
"The goal is to try to get this done by the end of March," Tate said. "It may stretch to April."
Changes already are taking place on Chestnut Street.
Ben Taylor, traffic operations analyst, said bike lanes are in place between Fourth and Seventh streets. Once four lanes, Chestnut now has two lanes for traffic, a center turn lane and a bike lane.
Because of construction at the CARTA parking garage next to the Majestic Theatre, the city is holding off putting in more bike lanes. Once the construction is complete in October, the bike lane will be extended from Fourth Street to Riverfront Parkway, Taylor said.
The bike corridor will be interrupted from M.L. King Boulevard to Seventh Street to preserve on-street parking.
The lanes will be the culmination of a bike corridor plan created in 2002 that called for a north-south bicycle corridor.