TDOT Commissioner Nicely expected to be in county Friday to discuss bridge project

Greg Wilkerson News Herald

The multi-million dollar bridge set to be built over the Tennessee River below Fort Loudoun Dam is edging closer to becoming a reality.

Loudon County Mayor Doyle Arp said Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely is expected to be in the county Friday to discuss the project.

The funding for the bridge was placed in the state's bridge bonding program, and Nicely is expected to discuss the timetable for the project during his visit.

State Representative Jimmy Matlock said the total project includes three bridges - one over the Tennessee River, one over the Tellico Channel and a third over the railroad tracks just south of the intersection at Broadway. "They're going to put it out for bid in December," Arp said.

Currently a two-lane bridge sits on top of Fort Loudoun Dam. The new bridges, combined with other widening projects along the corridor, will create four lanes of traffic through Loudon County on the popular route between Oak Ridge and Maryville.

Arp said he has heard various figures on the total cost of the bridge, up to $80 million.

State Representatives Dennis Ferguson and Matlock and State Senator Randy McNally are also expected to be at the announcement. "It's way beyond anything that's ever happened before," Matlock said of the progress now being made. "I really think we're going to see some action after all this time."