The Tennessee Department of Transportation plans to open bids on a construction contract for the new Sligo bridge project April 5.
TDOT officials held a pre-bid meeting Friday at the DeKalb County Complex for contractors. Ken Flynn, Director of Operations for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Region 2, told WJLE that the purpose of the meeting was to give contractors as much information possible about the project so they can prepare for the bidding. "It was a pre informational meeting for our contractors to kind of fill them in on the progress of the Sligo bridge in letting that to contract. What this meeting did Friday was kind of bring all of our contractors up to speed on the peculiarities and specialty type items of the bridge to get them prepared to go in and put us together a good bid. Right now, barring any unforseen circumstances we have it for April 5 going to contract," said Flynn.
Since a TDOT right of way deal could not be worked out with the Corps of Engineers because of Sligo Marina, which has just renewed its lease with the Corps, construction crews will largely have to access the site and work within the state right of way around the bridge. Barges will be brought in to do most of the work from the water. 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. "A lot of our access, because we want to keep on the right of way, will probably be from water access. We have an access point to the lake (Highland Trail Boat Ramp) and we will be using that to access the bridge site and do most of our work," said Flynn
During the pre-bid meeting Friday, Jennifer Lloyd, TDOT Roadway Design Manager told contractors that the Highland Trail (Dubland) Boat Ramp is located 4.3 miles northeast of the bridge site. This area is an option for the contractor should he be unable to perform the necessary construction functions at the marina site within the proposed limited right of way. Representatives of the Riverwatch Golf Course and Mountain Harbour community and neighborhood groups are aware and supportive of the project. The road to Highland Trail Boat Ramp will be improved prior to construction and after completion of the Sligo bridge project. Access to the Highland Trail Boat Ramp will be closed during construction.
Contractors plan to access the construction site primarily by way of Highland Boat Ramp unless they (contractors) can reach some arrangement with the Sligo marina operators directly at the site or come up with other alternatives. "We've got some room (state right of way) on either side of the roadway (Highway 70) up top (above the construction site) so we'll probably occupy every available space that we have," said Flynn. "We do have access to the lake and river. That is the best access we have to come in on that area (Highland Trail Boat Ramp). But the contractors are pretty ingenious. They may come up with other avenues of access but right now the ones that we're considering are the ones we have provided," said Flynn.
The existing bridge will remain open during construction of the new bridge, which will be built some sixty feet to the north or to the left (traveling toward Sparta) of the old bridge. Flynn said that Sligo Road from Highway 70 to Sligo Marina will also remain open. "We'll still allow access to the existing bridge and to the marina underneath we'll have to maintain that access. Plus there are some water intakes for the local utilities so we have to maintain all of that for them," said Flynn
Pyrite in the rock formations on each side of the river will have to be removed and hauled away during bridge construction. According to County Mayor Mike Foster, pyrite, which is made up of an iron sulfide, will have to be taken to other locations and buried. "They will dig a pit, line it with clay, put down the pyrite, and cover it over with clay so it doesn't leak out into a stream," said Foster.
Two encapsulation sites have been secured to dispose of the pyrite. One of the sites is at the former county landfill location on the Clyde Moore Road, three miles west of the bridge (2,468 cubic yards of pyretic material to be taken there), and on Billings Road, two and a half miles east of the bridge near the existing landfill (70,755 cubic yards of pyretic materials to be dumped there).
Bridge construction should begin within four to six weeks of awarding the bid, according to Flynn. "That's usually a four to six week process. They will open the bids on April 5 and review them to make sure that they are accurate and that they follow all of our guidelines and requirements. Once its determined that there is qualified low bidder, then we will award the contract," said Flynn.
The project is expected to be completed by June 30, 2016.