Construction Begins On Aging DeKalb Co. Bridge - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Construction Begins On Aging DeKalb Co. Bridge

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by Chris Conte

SMITHVILLE, Tenn. - Construction crews have started the process of building a new bridge over the Caney Fork River to replace the rapidly deteriorating highway 70 bridge which currently spans the 1,500 ft. section of water.

"Short term it's gonna put a damper on business I'm sure but once we get out of it the bridge is going to be better...it's good for the people of the county," said Myka Franklin whose family owns Sligo Marina which sits just under the bridge.

Officials from TDOT said the current bridge isn't in danger of falling over, but it is structurally deficient. In recent years, pieces of concrete have started to crumble and fall off the bottom forcing crews to install a net across the bottom to catch any falling debris.

"You just don't see construction like this very often, so thankfully everyone has been more curious than negative," Franklin added.

The project won't be completed until 2016, and TDOT estimates it will cost about $38 million. Crews began constructing the new bridge back in July, placing large barges in the water, so they can drill down into the bed of the river.

Officials from TDOT said the plan is to have the new bridge completely built first before they take down the old one, so as to not disturb the flow of traffic on Highway 70.

"It's great for the community because the contractor is trying to hire a lot of local people for the project," said Jason Mellons who is a Project Supervisor for TDOT.

Until the bridge is done, boat traffic has been reduced to idle speeds in the area surrounding the construction. 

Email: cconte@newschannel5.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5ChrisConte
Twitter: Twitter.com/ChrisConte

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