MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The city announced plans Tuesday to re-open Madison Avenue to two-way traffic downtown over a year after a building collapse closed the road.
The roof collapsed at 118 Madison in March 2011 after heavy rain. The collapsed building shares a wall with the building behind it, 119 Court Avenue. The city's fire inspector had told both property owners someone needs to do major repairs no later than April 9th.
"I am not happy with where we've gone so far. I thought by now this case would've settled,” said Judge Larry Potter in Environmental Court on March 28, 2012.
A notice to proceed was issued May 29 to the contractor to stabilize the shared wall between 118 Madison and 119 S. Court, according to Mayor Wharton's office. The repairs should be done by July with demolition to follow; Madison is scheduled to fully re-open in the fall.
"This situation began with the laws of gravity and has continued under the laws of men," stated Mayor A C Wharton in a May 29 press release. "We are happy today to say that we have a timeline in place for shoring up the wall and it’s one that we hope will satisfy the property owners, the affected business interests, tourists, and local residents and motorists. We are ready for Madison Avenue to be an avenue again."
“It's been over a year and the absurdity of it is so high that I actually want to see work being done before I count the chickens,” said Paul Morris with the Downtown Memphis Commission.
Morris has been pushing for the building's demolition for months. Beneath his skepticism lies hope.
“With Mayor Wharton's involvement I'm much more optimistic going forward,” Paul Morris said.