After 2 years, Cummings Highway project nearly complete

After 2 years, Cummings Highway project nearly complete

June 22nd, 2011 by Joan Garrett McClane in News

The bridge at Lookout Creek on Cummings Highway is still under construction after two years. The project is scheduled to be completed in July.

Photo by Allison Carter/Times Free Press.

David Haydon drives construction equipment Tuesday at the bridge at Lookout Creek on Cummings Highway. The bridge has been under construction for two years.

Photo by Allison Carter/Times Free Press.

BY THE NUMBERS

Cummings Highway bridge over Lookout Creek

  • $5.6 million - Cost of project
  • 23 - Number of months to complete project
  • 4 - Number of lanes on bridge
  • 1927 - Year original bridge was built

Source: TDOT

A bridge that has been under construction on Cummings Highway for nearly two years will be finished in a month, officials said.

And drivers who travel through the project over Lookout Creek daily say they will be happy to see the new four-lane bridge open, replacing the two-lane bridge built in 1927.

"It's never been an issue with traffic. It's just kind of an eyesore," said Tina Harvey Crawford, director of development and marketing at the Chattanooga Nature Center, which is located on Lookout Creek and has a visitor center down the road from the bridge. "We are definitely looking forward to it being completed."

Work on the bridge started in September 2009 and was estimated to be completed by the end of July, said Jennifer A. Flynn, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Most bridge projects take about two years, she said, but construction on the Cummings Highway bridge has taken a few weeks longer because workers had to redo some of the piers that hold the bridge up from the water.

Kishor Batel, who works at Alpine Lodge Motel a mile down the road, said that, even though it will be good for the bridge construction to be finally wrapped up, workers have done a good job keeping traffic flowing in both directions.

"It hasn't affected business," he said.

On Monday the contractor, Talley Construction Co., poured the concrete deck of the bridge, which will have 10-foot shoulders and four 12-foot lanes when completed.

"It was too old and narrow before," said Flynn.

Replacing the bridge cost $5.6 million, and construction included grading, drainage and paving, she said.

"The new bridge will be on a slightly different alignment to take the curve out of the road and to improve sight distance," Flynn said.

Rerouting the lanes of Cummings Highway to align with the bridge is part of the overall project, Flynn said, and that work will be completed by the end of July, too.

Contact Joan Garrett at jgarrett@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6601.