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Northshore bridge work to begin soon

Motorists traveling on Northshore Drive could see a few minor traffic impediments as Blalock & Sons Construction begins work building a new bridge between the intersection of Northshore Drive and Concord Road and The Cove at Concord Park.

“They have already started work on that,” said Knox County engineer Bruce Wuethrich. “You might or might not see them down below as they get started on it.”

Wuethrich said Blalock has pulled a barge to the bottom of the existing bridge and started preparations for construction of a new bridge parallel to the old one.

“They’re going to build a new bridge next to the old one,” Wuethrich said. “This is about a four hundred-day project, so it should take a little over a year to build. They’ll shift traffic from the old bridge to the new bridge.”

The nearly $3 million project would create a new, two-lane bridge to replace the existing one, which the state deemed in poor condition.

“The state goes around and inspects these bridges on an annual basis and it determined this was one of the worst bridges we had,” he said. “This bridge carries quite a bit of traffic so we opted to replace it. Normally you would go in and sometimes close the road down to build it, but because of the traffic volume, that wasn’t deemed

prudent. ...”

Wuethrich said the county plans to leave the existing bridge where it is and incorporate it into the greenway system.

“I talked to parks and recreation and they said they want to use it for pedestrian usage,” he said. “I think they may try to tie it in to the little park right there and make it where you can go out and fish from the bridge.”

While that project is ongoing, Wuethrich said residents could expect the project to build a roundabout at Northshore and Concord Road to be let by February 2007.

“This is really a state project we’re doing using C-M-A-Q funds, which stands for congestion mitigation air quality,” he said. “We are finishing up the plans and expect to submit them to the state for final approval in a few weeks.”

The project is expected to relieve some of the congestion drivers feel daily at the intersection. Traffic backs up for some distance and has been seen stacking up all the way to Turkey Creek Road.


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