106-year-old bridge's history being considered in possible demolition

Sandy Hook Bridge
Posted at 6:37 PM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 21:42:19-04

SANDY HOOK, Tenn. (WTVF) — The future has been uncertain for a bridge that's stood in a community for more than a hundred years.

State officials said the bridge is unsafe and needs to come down, but the bridge's history could play a role in its fate.

"A few of us would be here all the time either wading in the creek or fishing, or we would be playing cops and robbers," said Philip Crews. "I delivered papers when I was young. I went across this bridge on my route. I was here pretty much every day."

Of all the sights in his Sandy Hook community in Maury County, nothing says home to Crews like the five arch Sandy Hook Bridge built in 1916. Crews can't even begin to tell you how many times he's been down there.

"I turned 72 on Memorial Day. There is no telling," he smiled. "It was the place to be in Sandy Hook."

A few months ago, Crews was convinced his community was about to lose the bridge.

At the request of the Maury County Highway Department, TDOT said the bridge would be removed due to advanced concrete deterioration and its poor condition. TDOT added the arch bridge clogs during heavy rain and adds to upstream flooding. Roadblocks were placed on the bridge in the winter.

"I see a little damage, and there are some problems, but they are able to be addressed," said Crews.

Now, the US Army Corps of Engineers says the historic nature of the bridge could play a role in what happens to it.

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently reviewing a Department of the Army permit application submitted by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. The request is for authorization for the temporary placement of fill material in waters associated with the proposed bridge removal. Part of this review includes the potential for the bridge's eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and the effects the fill may have on a historic property," said Tim Wilder, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Chief, Regulatory Division West Branch

A spokesperson for the US Army Corps of Engineers said there will be a process so that the public will be heard in what happens.

"The architecture is what makes it eligible for the National Historic Register," said Crews. "This is a landmark. This is what you think of when you think of Sandy Hook."

A Facebook page looking to save the bridge has now grown to more than 1,300 members.

"I think we've got a 50/50 chance," said Crews. "I intend to fight for it until I see them hauling it off. I may be chained to it."

Crews also tells us since the possibility of the bridge being demolished was announced, they've witnessed more vandalism. He said the most recent case was on Memorial Day, but he's been working to cover the graffiti with a plaster that matches the bridge.