Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer completed his week's Regional "TDOT Projects Bus Tour" Thursday making the final stop in DeKalb County.
State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver joined the Commissioner and other TDOT representatives on the bus tour locally to view Hurricane bridge, where a rehabilitation construction project is underway.
"We're at the end of our fourth day (bus tour)," said Commissioner Schroer. " It gives us an opportunity to meet our local officials and talk to them. Senator Beavers and Representative Weaver are here and we're talking to them about the things that they need done in their areas. We're excited about working with them and our local partners across the state. It's been very beneficial to do that. We're making great progress on the Hurricane bridge. The bridge (renovation) has been needed for a while. We're doing a great job getting it completed on time. It looks like we'll be on time and maybe even before time," he said.
Paul Degges, TDOT Chief Engineer, told WJLE that the Hurricane Bridge project is about half completed. "We're around the half way point on the project," said Degges. "We've completed the first phase and the traffic is on new concrete on one lane in each direction. That bridge was built during World War II and it has some pretty lite structural members. One of the things we're 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