The Tennessee Department of Transportation still does not have the go ahead for right of way acquisition for the new Sligo bridge.
WJLE contacted TDOT Thursday and in response, Jennifer A. Flynn, Regional Community Relations Officer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation replied with the following message by email. "I spoke with Chief Engineer/Deputy Commissioner Paul Degges about the Sligo Bridge. He told me that TDOT has redesigned the bridge project to take into account the Marina's concerns and provided the redesign to the Marina. We have not yet been able to finalize any transaction at this time, but we remain optimistic that we can come to a settlement that is satisfactory to all parties. That's all there is to tell at this point. If I hear of any news on the progress of the project, I will certainly let you know," wrote Flynn
State Representative Mark Pody, who was in town Friday, December 21, said he is hopeful that the new Sligo bridge project can be let for bids during the first quarter of 2013, pending a new lease agreement between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Sligo Marina.
Pody, in an interview with WJLE, said any new agreement between the parties should address granting TDOT the right of way to proceed with the project. The marina's current lease with the Corps is due to expire next month.
Degges told WJLE in August that the state had redesigned plans for the proposed project hoping to address concerns to the satisfaction of Sligo Marina.
Degges has said one of the major concerns is that the marina owners want the state to pay for "potential loss of business"to them during the construction of the bridge. The problem is the state cannot legally pay for those types of damages. "They're wanting to be paid for some things. In particular, he (lessee) wants to be paid for some potential loss of business due to loss of some of his parking and the impact of construction. Under state law in Tennessee, we (TDOT) are prohibited from paying those types of damages" said Degges.