Hawkins bumpy bridge safe until replaced

8:37 PM, Jan 4, 2013   |    comments
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Construction is ahead of schedule on a new bridge that will replace the one located on Longs Bend Road in Surgoinsville.

A bridge over a major East Tennessee river is on its last leg.

The bridge is located on Longs Bend Road in Surgoinsville.

It remains open as crews work on a replacement bridge 30 feet east of the existing bridge on the Holston River.

Hawkins County Road Superintendent Lowell Bean says state and federal money is being used to fund the $3.6 million project.

"It's been a good bridge but time takes its toll on everything," Bean said.

Until the 520 foot bridge is complete, the old one will remain open.

A TDOT engineer inspected the old bridge on Thursday and said it is still safe for motorists.

"It'll be alright till we get this new bridge in operation but we've had to do a lot of repair on it. As a matter of fact yesterday [Thursday] we were doing some welding on the bridge deck itself," Bean said.

Bean said the bridge deteriorates faster when trucks do not obey the weight limit.

Local law enforcement will be handing out citations to drivers who do not obey.

"If they don't do that it could get to the point where we have to shut it down before this one is complete," Bean said.

Bean said the new bridge will be able to handle much more weight than the current bridge.

The existing bridge will close down for a month in 2014 and then be demolished once the new bridge is open.

Simpson Construction Company has completed 10 percent of the project and is currently working on construction of pier two.

Plans are ahead of schedule thanks to fairly mild weather.

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