published Friday, May 30th, 2014

Thrasher Bridge over Chickamauga Dam to undergo repairs

  • photo
    Motorists drive over the Wilkes T. Thrasher Bridge on Thursday afternoon. Work is expected to be done on the expansion joints soon, resulting in closure of the bridge for three days in June.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
    enlarge photo

Thrasher Bridge over Chickamauga Dam will close for three days next month.

The Tennessee Valley Authority announced this week that from the evening of June 19 until the morning of June 23 the bridge, which takes drivers over the Tennessee River on Highway 153, will undergo repairs. The work will require motorists to take alternate routes.

Southbound Highway 153 drivers will be diverted onto Dupont Parkway while northbound Highway 153 traffic will be directed to Amnicola Highway.

All vehicles will cross the river on the C.B. Robinson Bridge. The detour will be less than 1.5 miles, a TVA news release said.

The repairs being made to the bridge's road expansion joints are the first major repairs for Thrasher Bridge in 15 years, TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said.

"We can get in there, knock this out and hopefully it'll be 15 more years before we have to worry about this again," Hopson said.

The June 19-23 time window was selected because it misses holidays and the Riverbend festival, although the dates of the closure could vary if severe weather enters the area.

During repairs to other bridges when no viable alternatives like the C.B. Robinson Bridge are available, crews will often leave a single lane open for traffic to continue passing. But the repairs take longer when done under those circumstances, and Hopson said that completely closing the bridge to allow crews to work quickly will minimize the inconvenience for drivers.

"We recognize that anytime you close a bridge that it's a massive inconvenience," he said, "but we also understand the importance of maintaining a safe infrastructure."

Contact staff writer David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731.

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