It may be next fall before a new bridge is in place on Holmes Creek Road over Fall Creek in Smithville.
Until then residents in the area and other motorists will have to continue making a detour by way of Riley Avenue or Allen's Ferry Road.
The bridge, at the bottom of town hill behind Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, has been closed since October 30.
The state forced the City of Smithville to close the bridge due to a Tennessee Department of Transportation Evaluation Report which detailed various bridge deficiencies making it potentially unsafe.
The project is being funded under the state's 1990 Bridge Grant Program. The Tennessee Department of Transportation will pay for 98% of the costs to replace the bridge. The local matching portion is 2%.
During Monday night's meeting the Mayor and Aldermen discussed the project with Public Works Director Kevin Robinson and City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson.
"I talked to Kyle Hazel probably two or three weeks ago. He is the engineer over the bridge. It's in the design phase right now. They're projecting it to be done maybe by late summer or fall," said Robinson.
"The way this came about was every other year they (state inspectors) come through and do an inspection and send us a report telling us what we need to do. Usually it's just clearing sediment from underneath the bridge and checking on the signed tonnage that's allowed to cross it. Right before Halloween this year they issued a statement saying the bridge would be closed in two weeks. There was nothing we could do about it. They (state) are paying for 98% of it but it is still a big inconvenience for anybody living in that area. Unfortunately it (project) is going to move slowly. They've got to do site tests and core samples. They also have to obtain a permit from the Corps of Engineers because the creek is a tributary to the lake. Then they have to bid it out and whoever is awarded the contract will have 120 days to complete the project. It's a long process," said Hendrixson.
Alderman Gayla Hendrix, who has long pushed for the construction of sidewalks on that street leading from town to the golf course area, asked if the bridge could be made wide enough to allow for pedestrians should sidewalks later be built on the street. "While they are refurbishing the bridge, it would be really great if they could add sidewalks to the bridge, you know, expand it then maybe we could tie into it (later)," she said.
"I can ask the engineer and see", replied Robinson.
"I've already asked that question and I didn't exactly get an answer," said Mayor Jimmy Poss.
"They are promising to try and straighten it up (street) and take some of that curve out of it. That needs to be done.
"As far as the sidewalks, he said we already have 33 feet (bridge width) including two twelve foot lanes so it will be wide enough (for pedestrians)," Mayor Poss added.
The new bridge and a portion of the street around it are also expected to be striped.