The state's top Department of Transportation official said the construction of a new bridge and ramps at exit 20 on Interstate 75 is still on schedule to be completed by December.

“We've just poured the last deck of the bridge section and we're on time and hope to have it open in November,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schrorer in a released statement. “As we watch the trucks go by, it's easy to see how this will help traffic get through this really, really busy intersection.”

Bridges are built with 20 to 25-year lifespan, “but we've got an industrial park going, we're building a new interchange at the entrance of the industrial park. If it blossoms and blooms and other things happen at this intersection, there's a possibility you might have to take another look at it, but we'll be in good shape for a while,” he said.

The exit 20 modifications and the new interchange between exit 20 and State Road 2/US Highway 11 are priced at $35.5 million combined.

The new five-lane bridge has two through lanes in each direction, a dedicated center turn lane and shoulders. The current bridge is 24-feet wide with one travel lane in each direction. The new bridge will be 100 feet wide.

“Soon — exit 20 will be state-of-the-art interchange and bridge crossing, opening the ‘Gateway To The Smokies' for everyone to enjoy. We welcome this much needed improvement to our community,” said State Rep. Kevin Brooks.