Bridge over Chickamauga Dam to close temporarily
Tens of thousands of drivers who depend on the Thrasher Bridge every day to cross over the Tennessee River need to take a different route temporarily.
Tuesday, June 17th 2014, 3:34 pm EDT
Tens of thousands of drivers who depend on the Thrasher Bridge every day to cross over the Tennessee River need to take a different route temporarily. TVA is closing it while crews make repairs on the several decades old structure.
The heavily-traveled bridge is along Highway 153 over the Chickamauga Dam. TVA is responsible for the safety of bridges that go over their structures so they've worked with state traffic engineers to figure out a detour for drivers. The bridge will not be open to any traffic this Thursday, June 19th through the following Monday, June 23rd.
Approximately 41,342 drivers cross over the Chickamauga Dam each day.
TVA is required by law to stay on top of wear and tear to the nearly 60-year-old bridge. It's been about 15 years since the last repairs.
"Over the course of time we have noticed there are some expansion joists in the concrete that have deteriorated with age that are in need of replacement," TVA Spokesperson Jim Hopson said.
Closing it to all traffic is the option TVA officials say made the most sense to speed up the process and cut down on safety hazards for workers and drivers.
"Although it is a little painful to close a major bridge like that for three or four days," Hopson said.
Signs are already posted warning about the temporary closure.
"I didn't know how I was supposed to get from home to school because I have school every day," Hixson resident Shay Colvin said.
Southbound traffic will have to take the Dupont Parkway. Folks heading north will need to use Amnicola Highway. All traffic will be using the C.B. Robinson Bridge to cross the river.
"It won't be much of an inconvenience because of the Robinson Bridge just down a little bit out of the way there but it's worth it," Harrison resident Walter said.
The Thrasher Bridge will close Thursday at 8 p.m. If all goes as planned and weather cooperates, it will re-open at 8 a.m. Monday morning.