Work advances on Route 136 bridge over West Chickamauga Creek

Work advances on Route 136 bridge over West Chickamauga Creek

May 27th, 2013 by Tim Omarzu in Local Regional News

Surveyor Jeremey Thompson, left, and Surveyor Sean Neely, both employees of Chattanooga-based RLS Group, on Thursday check the elevation of recently installed beams at the state Route 136 bridge over West Chickamauga Creek under construction in rural Walker County, Ga.

Photo by Tim Omarzu/Times Free Press.

Photo by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press.

The end of July was when traffic was supposed to start rolling over the new bridge being built on state Route 136 over West Chickamauga Creek in rural Walker County, Ga.

But, in a roundabout way, summertime demand for air conditioning delayed the bridge's targeted completion date.

Talley Construction of Rossville had hoped to start work in August.

But first, a Tennessee Valley Authority electrical transmission line needed to be moved. That way, tall cranes could be used to work on the bridge.

"That power line went right over the top of the bridge," TVA project manager Bret Renfroe said. "We routed it so it went around the bridge. That way, they could do their work on it."

The trouble is, TVA only shuts down power lines in the fall and spring, when demand is down for air conditioning and heating. That pushed off an August start date.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has revised the bridge completion date to Jan. 31, 2014, GDOT area engineer Devon Brooks said.

"They'll be done before that," she said. "Talley is really pressing it, and they'll be out of there in no time."

Brooks couldn't give an exact date that the bridge will be open to traffic.

The new bridge uses 18 spans of pre-stressed concrete fabricated off-site.

"They set the last six [spans] last week," Talley Construction supervisor Stan Wallin said Thursday.

Rebar, or iron rod used to reinforce concrete, juts from the tops of the spans. Workers will use hand tools to bend the rebar to tie it into the bridge's superstructure.

"It's going pretty good," Wallin said of the bridge's progress.

The transportation department found the old bridge to be structurally deficient and functionally obsolete.

The new $1.7 million bridge, supported by six thick columns sunk into the creek bed, is designed to handle heavy trafficbecause Route 136 is a truck route.

Other advantages it will have over the old bridge, which was knocked down and hauled away, include shoulders more than 6 feet wide, compared to the old bridge's 2-foot-wide shoulders.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.