Overton Park’s road system is set for a much-needed resurfacing, and work could start as soon as this Thursday. The repaving project, led by the City of Memphis, will cover all park roads west of the Old Forest State Natural Area, including the Rainbow Lake Playground parking lot and Morrie Moss Lane leading to the Memphis Zoo. Work is set to continue through about mid-September and will require periodic lane and road closures.
The first portion of the project will be the milling of all the streets to level the road surfaces. Because Overton Park’s roads were originally built for horse-drawn carriages, they have retained a high crown and low shoulders (which would have helped rainwater flow off the surface, reducing mud that the carriages could get stuck in). This milling work will take more off the surface in the middle of the roads, bringing them more in line with the shoulders. The milling portion should take about a week, and during this time portions of park roads will be one-way, with contractors directing traffic.
Following the milling, paving will proceed in three phases (subject to change):
- Phase 1: Veterans Plaza Drive from the plaza south to Poplar Avenue, including the Rainbow Lake Playground parking lot, Old Forest Lane, Clocktower Lane, Museum Drive, and portions of Golf Drive
- Phase 2: Veterans Plaza Drive from the plaza south to Morrie Moss Lane and ending at the Tucker Street entrance to the park
- Phase 3: Morrie Moss Lane to Prentiss Place (the areas past the Zoo’s alligator gate)
Finally, new, more visible speed bumps will be installed after paving is completed.
Park visitors should expect delays and closures as this project continues, and should plan not to park their cars on park roads. (Parking on the East Parkway side of the park will be unaffected by this project.) In addition, cyclists should plan to avoid the milled areas until they are repaved, as the surfacing will be rough and unpredictable.
We are grateful to Mayor Strickland and to the team at Memphis Parks for making this significant investment in the Overton Park visitor experience, and for fitting in the work before the park’s busy fall season begins. Thank you for your patience as we look forward to smooth roads ahead!
Here’s a map of the proposed phasing of the project, with affected areas highlighted in yellow. Click the map for a larger version.