Bridge project under way: New four-lane bridge being built at Fort Loudoun Dam

Iva Butler-thedailytimes.com

LENOIR CITY A massive $69.3 million construction project to widen West Lamar Alexander Parkway at Fort Loudoun Dam to four lanes by building a new bridge over the Tennessee River downstream is under way.

This is the only section of Lamar Alexander Parkway that is not a four-lane highway between Interstate-40 in Loudon County and Walland in Blount County.

Charles Blalock and Sons of Sevierville was awarded the Tennessee Department of Transportation contract in June 2012 and the estimated completion date is May 31, 2015.

The 1.5-mile project includes construction of three new bridges and dismantling the existing bridge over Fort Loudoun Dam.

The new bridges will be located:

Over the Tennessee River downstream from the dam;

Parallel to the existing bridge over the Tellico Canal;

and over the Norfolk Southern Railroad.

The two bridges over the river and canal will be welded steel girder bridges while the one over the railroad will be a concrete I-beam bridge.

The 50-year-old J. Carmichael Greer Bridge over the dam, which is owned by TVA, will be dismantled without impeding the functions of the dam and the lock, according to TDOT.

Early on in the project development, TVA expressed a desire not to replace or widen the existing bridge on the dam.

Reasons were:

The bridge hampers access by TVA to perform maintenance on the dam.

Maintenance operations on the dam require stopping traffic across the bridge.

TVA facilities could be separated from public access by constructing a new bridge over the river downstream from the dam.

Work currently under way includes:

Hauling fill material for use among the three bridges

Placing fill material at the new City Park Drive/TVA Connector

Installing storm drains in various sections of the project

Setting beams on the bridge over Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks

Utility installation (water and sewer)

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5/15/13