Structural Damage Closes Smith Co. Bridge

Posted at 4:33 PM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 23:21:52-05

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Transportation have closed the US 70 North Bridge over the Caney Fork River in Smith County.

It was unclear when the bridge would be reopened. Officials it would remain closed while additional work was done.

In the meantime, the detour below was given to drivers to get around the closure:

  • Drivers traveling east on US 70N can take SR 53 South to access I-40 near Gordonsville or continue on SR 53 South to access SR 141 East. Follow SR 141 to SR 264 North to reconnect with US 70N.
  • Drivers traveling west on US 70N can take SR 264 South to SR 141 West. Follow SR 141 to SR 53 North to access I-40 or continue on SR 53 to reconnect with US 70N.

TDOT officials said they have been monitoring hairline cracks in the concrete pier caps, which sit on top of the bridge columns, for several months.

Even though some cracking is normal, officials said multiple cracks have developed on several of the pier caps, which work to support the bridge’s deck surface, forcing them to close the bridge.

To increase the support system, crews will add columns on each side of the seven existing columns.

Officials said none of the new bridge would need to be taken down or replaced, but instead would work in conjunction with the portions of the bridge already constructed.  

TDOT officials said their goal was to make necessary fixes within 90 days.

The bridge was constructed in late 2012.