The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) today identified 111 bridges across the state that will be either replaced, repaired or rehabilitated through a new initiative aimed at reducing the number of structurally deficient bridges in the state. TDOT's Better Bridges Program is a four-year program approved in 2009 by the Tennessee General Assembly. It will utilize bonds to pay for the repair or replacement of more than 200 structurally deficient bridges in the state. Today, TDOT presented a list of bridges to be covered in the first year of the program to Gov. Phil Bredesen and leaders of the Tennessee General Assembly as required by Public Chapter 552.
"The bridge projects identified for the first year of this program will improve the safety and reliability of more than one hundred bridges in Tennessee," said Bredesen. "Addressing these projects now rather than later allows us to take advantage of today's lower construction costs."
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the price of steel and iron scrap fell nearly 57% from June 2008 to June 2009, and cement prices were down 15% over the same period.
"Without this program, much of this critical work on structurally deficient bridges would have to be deferred for years," said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. "The bridges we rebuild today with this investment will serve the state for decades to come and provide a lasting benefit for future generations."
The 111 bridge projects selected for the first year of the bonding program are spread evenly across the three grand divisions of the state and include one project costing more than $20 million and five projects with costs of more than $4 million each.
The needed replacement of a bridge built in 1936 on State Rte. 33 (Maynardville Highway) over the Clinch River (Norris Lake) in Union County will be included in the first-year program and is estimated to cost more than $20 million.
Five projects with costs exceeding $4 million include: rehabilitation of the S.R. 9 (East Broadway) bridge over the French Broad River in Cocke County, which was originally built in 1928; replacement of a bridge in Perry County on S.R. 13, which crosses the Buffalo River, built in 1952; replacement of a bridge in Montgomery County on S.R. 13/U.S. 79 (Wilma Rudolph Boulevard) over the Red River, which was built in 1931; replacement of a bridge in Shelby County on S.R. 14 (South Third Street) over the Illinois Central Railroad, which was built in 1932; and replacement of a bridge on S.R. 35 (Chapman Highway) in Sevier County, which crosses Gists Creek, originally built in 1956.
TDOT also identified four large bridges that will be funded during the second year of the program. They are: S.R. 33 (Henley Street) over the Tennessee River in Knoxville; S.R. 73 (U.S. 321) over the Tennessee River in Loudon County; S.R. 109 over the Cumberland River in Sumner and Wilson counties; and S.R. 57 (U.S. 72) over S.R. 23 and the CSX and ICG railroads in Shelby County.