The Tennessee Department of Transportation has awarded the construction contract on Sligo bridge to the Massman Construction Company based in Kansas City, Missouri.
Massman, at $38,903, 917, had the lowest bid of the six bids submitted for the project. According to Jennifer A. Flynn, TDOT Regional Community Relations Officer, the bid came in at well under TDOT's estimated cost of the project at $43.5 million dollars.
Flynn told WJLE Monday a pre-construction meeting will be held within a few weeks in which all parties involved will gather to discuss issues related to the project. Construction is expected to begin later this year.
Paul Degges, Chief Engineer for TDOT, met with County Mayor Mike Foster and members of the county commission in January to update them on plans for the Sligo project. Since the state could not reach a right of way agreement with Sligo Marina, the bridge will be built primarily from the water. "We brought in a lot of contractors and did a constructability review so now we have come up with a way to build the bridge from the water and from the roadway so we're not going to have to be off our reservation so to speak with the bridge," said Degges.
The project will be more costly to build the bridge from the river, according to Degges but the marina will not be impacted in this manner. A construction staging area will be set up at the Highland Trail (Dubland) Boat Ramp near Riverwatch where contractors may gain access to the lake in getting to the bridge. The project will be under construction by summer and should be finished within twenty four to thirty months. "For the most part we're going to be building the bridge from the river. It is going to run our costs up but we believe we have the resources available to deliver it," said Degges. Certainly there will be some construction delays through there but we won't have a traffic signal. As far as construction impacts, there will still be access to the marina during construction and there will still be access across the bridge. It will be posted. Its at 22 tons right now and we hope to be able to keep it at that weight posting. I don't see anything happening that's going to have us change that," he said.
The new bridge will be built next to the existing one. Once the new bridge is completed, the existing bridge will be removed. "We're going to build what we call a steel plate girder bridge with a concrete deck," said Degges. "Right now, the bridge is a truss.The bridge is somewhat narrow. The new bridge we're going to put in here will have twelve foot lanes and ten foot shoulders. It will be what most people would consider a traditional bridge in that the beams of this bridge will be under the deck," he said.
The project is being funded under TDOT's Better Bridges, a four year program approved in 2009 by the Tennessee General Assembly that utilizes bonds to pay for the repair or replacement of more than 200 structurally deficient bridges in the state including Sligo. "We were able to come up with a new funding mechanism which we call our Better Bridges Program that allows us to utilize dollars available so we don't have to borrow money. It is a way that we use bond authorizations that allow us to let bigger projects and pay for them as they're being constructed. It keeps us from having to borrow any money but it allows us to advance pretty expensive projects," said Degges.