Lights to be installed on Loudon bridge next week

Vicky Newman-News-Herald

Never think traffic backups can't get worse.

A bridge project on the Interstate 75 bridge has been creating traffic havoc in Loudon County for nearly two weeks.

Now, Loudon city officials have learned that the installation of bridge lights will be starting sometime next week, simultaneous with the other project.

The absence of lights for Congressman John J. Duncan Jr. Loudon County Veterans Memorial Bridge  has been an ongoing source of contention for city officials. Beset by delays, the bridge lighting project has been in the works since 2006.

The project was bid out earlier this year, and work was expected to begin in late April or early May. In April, Lynn Mills, city manger, said the project engineer Cannon & Cannon had requ4sted a change order from the originally bid price, bringing the total to $228,689.83.

The change order called for addition of a T-Base between the lighting standard and bridge rail would to allow better access to install and maintain wiring.

Mills said Monday the preparatory work for the wiring is complete, and the construction company, Davis H. Elliott Construction Co., needs only to pull the wiring. He said he did not know how long the procedure would take.

"We will probably see some temporary lane closure," Mills said. "The contractors said they will start on the bridge next Monday. They are anxious to get started because costs are going up. They said they will try to do the work off peak hours, after hours."

The city has faced frustration with state projects that were scheduled without officials' knowledge at times when they negatively affected events and local commerce. The Wing Ding Best Dam Ride, which brought Honda Gold Wing riders into the area, was negatively affected by bridge work.

Rep. Jimmy Matlock, who attended the meeting, said he empathized, and would try to help increase coordination and collaboration between the state and local officials.