JASPER, Tenn.-City officials have approved a bid to relocate the waterlines on both sides of the bridge on U.S. Highway 41 over the Tennessee River at Nickajack in Marion County.
The Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved a $179,660 bid from Chastain Construction Co. in Ooltewah to move the lines in preparation for a new bridge that will replace the current 82-year-old structure.
Gary Cosby of CTI Engineers Inc. said the job will require about 4,000 feet of pipe to be moved.
"On both sides of the river, we've got to get waterlines out of the way where they are going to be constructing the approaches [to the new bridge]," he said. "Our lines will not be accessible once construction begins, so that's why we have to move them back."
The existing waterline almost certainly would be damaged or destroyed in the construction, Cosby said.
"There are some of those areas that they are going to have to blast," he said. "They'll go down the bank and clear it out. There's no telling what they'll do.
"We have a very small window of time to get out of [the bridge contractor's] way, or we could be delaying him in some fashion."
Jasper Mayor Billy Simpson said he will attend a meeting about the new bridge this week, and some preconstruction work on the site already has begun.
"We're looking at some grant funding [for the water line relocation] right now with [Southeast Tennessee Development District executive director] Beth Jones," he said. "We're hoping to come up with some free money for this work. She's been checking into that for the last month or so."
In October 2010, the current bridge, one of the oldest bridges spanning the Tennessee River, briefly was shut down by Tennessee Department of Transportation bridge inspectors after corroded steel was found, officials said.