Chattanooga — Beginning Monday, January 9, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) contract crews will close the Marion County truss bridge on U.S. Hwy. 41 over the Tennessee River at Nickajack Lake to all traffic until the new adjacent bridge currently under construction is completed. Original plans called for the truss bridge to remain open as the new multi-span steel plate girder bridge was built, but unforeseen circumstances have made it advisable to close the truss bridge for the safety of the traveling public and the work crews.
As work on the new bridge progressed, construction crews encountered unexpected problems. While performing underwater excavation for new bridge piers, crews discovered unanticipated subsurface conditions that caused concern and halted work. Some of the rock that the new bridge piers were to be built upon contained voids and unsuitable material, resulting in the need to construct the footings deeper than originally planned. Because crews must excavate, drill, and blast to construct the new bridge piers, TDOT engineers determined that it is best for the safety of the public and the workers that the truss bridge is closed to through traffic while this work is being performed. A detour route that will add an additional 1.5 miles to the current route will be posted.
Because of the additional excavation and testing needed, the completion date of the bridge replacement project has been extended to February of 2014. Although motorists should plan for the existing bridge to be closed until that date, TDOT will inspect the existing bridge once the new piers are constructed to determine if it can be re-opened prior to completion of the new bridge.
The prime contractor for the $21.5 million project is Britton Bridge, LLC of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.
For travel and TDOT construction information visit the TDOT SmartWay web site at www.tn.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway or call 511 from any land-line or cellular phone. You can also receive traffic alerts via TDOT’s multiple Twitter feeds, including statewide traffic tweets @TN511 or Chattanooga area alerts @Chattanooga511. Smartphone users can use the TDOT SmartWay Mobile website at http://m.tdot.tn.gov/SmartWay/ to access TDOT’s SmartWay cameras and information on construction related lane closures and incidents on interstates and state routes.