TDOT Opens Henley Bridge Project Community Center

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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TDOT Opens Henley Bridge Project Community Center

Posted: 09/21/2010
Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely opened TDOT's new Henley Bridge Project Community Center Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting at the 220 East Blount Avenue location.

The center will provide information about the upcoming reconstruction of the nearly 80-year-old bridge to community members, business owners and motorists. 
 
It is located at the corner of Chapman Highway and Blount Avenue across the street from the old Baptist Hospital. It will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The City of Knoxville is also hosting an informational meeting about the Henley Bridge project from 5-7 p.m., Tuesday, September 28, in the City County Building's Large Assembly Room.

TDOT currently plans to close the Henley Bridge and begin the two-to-three-year project early next year. Nicely said Tuesday the bridge will not be closed to traffic prior to January 3, 2011.

The Henley Street Bridge carries more than more than 38,000 vehicles a day and is the city's primary connection to South Knoxville.

Its closing will mean that those drivers will have to use alternative means to reach their destinations. TDOT and the City of Knoxville have worked together to map out detours that will help motorists during the duration of the project.

Nicely and other speakers also emphasized that South Knoxville businesses located near the bridge will be accessible during the duration of the project. Chapman Highway will remain open during the work, only the Henley Bridge will be closed.

"In many ways this project may be more challenging than SmartFix," Nicely said during the ceremony referring to TDOT's ambitious Interstate 40 project that was completed last year.

But he added, "I know it's going to be challenging, but I think if we all work together we can mitigate those inconveniences and it will be a great project."

Britton Bridge, LLC, of Mt. Juliet, is the apparent low bidder for the reconstruction bidding $24.7 million. The bids were opened on Friday and the contract has not been formally awarded yet.

The contract will feature incentives including a maximum $1 million bonus for completion by Dec. 31, 2012.

City of Knoxville Public Works Director Steve King said the city is pleased that TDOT is going to maintain the historic character of the bridge, which opened to traffic on January 2, 1932.

TDOT also agreed to the city's request to include a bicycle lane on the renovated bridge.

"We really appreciate the cooperation the city and TDOT have and look forward to working with them on this project," King said.

The reconstruction is needed because the bridge has been determined to be structurally deficient by TDOT and does not meet current safety standards. The work will involve dismantling the structure down to the arches and then rebuilding it.