A view from the south side of the new Longs Bend Road bridge in Surgoinsville which is nearing completion. (photo courtesy of Johnny Greer)
SURGOINSVILLE — If the weather is cooperative Surgoinsville’s new Longs Bend Road bridge could be open by the end of next week — but now that we’ve hit the middle January that’s going to be a big “if.”
The old Longs Bend Road bridge crossing the Holston River in Surgoinsville has been closed since Nov. 25 to allow construction of the approaches to the new bridge.
Since then Surgoinsville area residents south of the bridge have had an extra 30-45 minute commute to either the Goshen Valley Road bridge in Church Hill, or the Burem Road bridge in Rogersville to cross the river.
Uncooperative weather has extended what was going to be a 3-4 week final leg of the new bridge construction into almost two months.
But, workers have taken advantage of good weather this week.
Hawkins County Highway Superintendent Lowell Bean told the Times-News Thursday that new bridge is nearly complete.
“It’s looking good if the weather will cooperate just a little bit,” Bean said Thursday. “They’re pouring concrete today and are going to put up the guardrail. I was talking to the paving crew, and hopefully we’ll be able to do a little paving next week and get that bridge open.”
Bean noted that the contractors believe the bridge could be open by the end of next week if they get some good weather.
“The asphalt company is checking to make sure they’ve got enough liquid to make the asphalt,” he added. “By the time they fire the asphalt plant up it takes about three days to heat up. If they fire it up on Friday, it will be Monday before it’s hot enough to pave. If everything works out we might get that thing done by the later part of next week.”
Bean said that when he knows for certain when the new bridge will be open he’ll inform the media with as much forewarning as possible.