KINGSPORT — A 12-month repair project on an 80-year-old bridge in Colonial Heights is almost complete and will likely be done earlier than expected, a Tennessee Department of Transportation official said last week.
Since October 2011, Simpson Construction Co. of Cleveland, Tenn., has been working to repair the parallel bridges on State Route 36, the bridge roughly located between Ingles and Perkins in the Colonial Heights community.
Work consisted of demolishing the southbound bridge down to the piers, which were then repaired with new caps and beams and a new decking. The northbound bridge had less work done to it — deck repairs and a new parapet wall. Both bridges will receive a textured finished and railroad security fence.
Though the two bridges cross over a CSX railroad line, the tracks were not impacted by the project.
The cost of the project is estimated to be $1.26 million with a completion date scheduled for Oct. 31. However, TDOT spokesman Mark Nagi said the work will likely be completed before that day.
“The project is almost complete. We’re certainly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” Nagi said, noting the weather has been good lately to move the project along. “There’s a strong chance we’ll be done earlier than expected.”
Nagi said the remaining work includes installing some railroad protective fencing on the southbound bridge and the final paving on both bridges. The most extensive work remaining includes removing the temporary crossover lanes where the median had been filled up with stone and paved over in order to switch the traffic over, Nagi said.
Crews will remove the stone and asphalt and grade the land back down to its prior condition before putting the grass back in. Once that’s done the bridge should be ready to be reopened.
According to TDOT, the southbound bridge was constructed in 1929 and widened in 1963, with the northbound bridge constructed in 1972. TDOT’s bridge inspection division discovered deficiencies in the two bridges during a routine inspection.
Every two years, TDOT’s Structure Inventory and Appraisal Office inspects more than 8,000 bridges maintained by the state and more than 11,000 bridges maintained by city or county governments. The information obtained through the inspections is used to plan bridge replacement and repair activities, help allocate national highway funding, determine weight restrictions and if necessary, close bridges due to deterioration or damage.