For the tight-knit neighborhood of Whitehaven, Elvis Presley Boulevard is a virtual “main street.” And if you’re visiting Memphis, chances are you’re taking a drive down it, too.

Soon, the boulevard will be undergoing a transformation to match its star-studded name.

The improvements along the stretch of Elvis Presley Map of Elvis Presley Boulevard ProjectBoulevard from Brooks Road to Shelby Drive will include new curbs, gutters, and pavement. It will also include sidewalks, street lighting, streetscape beautification, and improvements to make the area safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Eventually most of the overhead power and utility lines will be relocated to rear property lines or placed underground.

Here’s the question we receive quite a bit at the City: When will work begin? Let’s explain:

The project is being completed in separate phases, meaning work on a particular phase will not start until the last one is finished.

Here is how it is broken up into phases: The north section of the project runs from Brooks Road to Winchester Road, the middle section runs from Winchester Road to Craft Road, and the south section runs from Craft Road to Shelby Drive.

Design for the north section is complete. Right-of-way and easements needed for the construction to start have also been completed. Once certification is approved from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, construction can begin.

Why do we have to involve the TDOT? TDOT is actually funding most of the work, as Elvis Presley Blvd, also known as Highway 51, is actually a state of Tennessee highway. Since TDOT is providing funding, it has to approve everything in compliance with its rules and regulations. So until TDOT signs off on any proposed work, it can’t start.

The design for the middle section is nearing completion with construction expected to begin in the spring of 2019. Design for the south section is about halfway done and construction is expected sometime in the mid-2019.

The project is estimated to cost around $35 million.

“Elvis Presley Boulevard is an important Public Works project,” Public Works Director Robert Knecht said “Not only is there a significant funding commitment, but this is also an important step towards ongoing revitalization of Whitehaven. I am excited to see how close we are to starting construction and truly appreciate the community’s patience. We are also grateful for the partnership with TDOT as we coordinate to get the required approvals.”