The Hurricane Bridge construction project is nearing completion.
Paul Degges, Chief Engineer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, in a meeting with County Mayor Mike Foster and the county commission Thursday night, said the project is ahead of schedule and could be finished by May. "We are running considerably ahead of schedule on that project," said Degges. "We anticipate being able to open that to traffic probably by the first of May. If we have good weather this winter we might even beat that. You might recall our original completion estimate was October of this year so we are significantly ahead of schedule," said Degges.
During an interview with WJLE in August, Degges described the work being done on Hurricane Bridge."That bridge was built during World War II and it had some pretty lite structural members. One of the things we've been going through on the project is to make sure it can handle traffic for the next fifty years or so. We're going in and looking at every single member of the truss. Some of those metal components underneath the deck are in tension and some are in compression. So we're doing an analysis on all those to make sure that we replace the ones that need to be replaced. This is an older bridge. It has a lite weight construction so we're also using a lite weight concrete on it. The concrete deck on this bridge weighs about twenty percent less than concrete we use in typical applications. I think motorists will notice that the bridge rail on the bridge looks a little different. It's metal instead of concrete. It's just as strong but it's a little bit lighter than concrete. We're going to take about two feet off the shoulders. While we'll still have the same width twelve foot travel lanes, the shoulders are going to be a little bit narrower than they were before the project. What we're trying to do is be able to put this bridge back in service and get another fifty years out of it," said Degges.
In October, 2010 TDOT awarded the bid to OCCI Incorporated at $26.9 million. The contractor has until October 31st, 2013 to complete the project. Modjeski and Masters is the consulting firm.