The rehabilitation of the Hurricane Bridge under the state's bridge bonding program is due for construction bid letting sometime this fall according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Jennifer Flynn, Community Relations Officer in the Chattanooga TDOT Office told WJLE Friday that the exact date for the bid letting has not been set but will be sometime this fall. "We're currently scheduled to let the bridge rehab project sometime in the fall of this year. We're in the process of getting our permits and everything all in order to let that project. The rehabilitation project will replace the deck at the bridge. New guardrails will be installed and it will strengthen the steel structure underneath and make the bridge a lot safer and it won't have to be weight posted anymore upon completion of the project. The estimate (to do the work) is $12 to $15 million right now but we won't really know until the bids are opened on the project and let to contract. It's part of the bridge bonding program."
The rehabilitation of Hurricane Bridge is among the projects to be funded through TDOT's Better Bridge bonding program in the fiscal year 2010-11 state budget, which was approved by the legislature this year.
Meanwhile the county will continue to fund "flaggers" at Hurricane Bridge until the state begins work on the bridge.
County Mayor Mike Foster says the proposed new county budget includes $25,000 for this expense.
Since April 15th, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has posted a "flagger" on each end of the bridge to monitor traffic across the bridge, which has state posted weight limits.
Any vehicle (trucks, school buses, emergency vehicles, etc) above the posted weight limit are subject to being stopped Mondays through Fridays from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on both ends of the bridge to allow one truck to come across the bridge at a time.
In January, the DeKalb County Commission approved a plan to provide the "flaggers" through at least September and to apply for a state grant to help recoup the county's costs.