Chattanooga to replace aging Wilcox Bridge with support of $25 million federal grant

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Drivers pass over damaged areas on the Wilcox Boulevard Bridge on Friday. The bridge is due for $54.5 million of work.

Chattanooga is receiving $25 million from the federal government to replace the Wilcox Boulevard Bridge, a 70-year-old structure spanning the Norfolk Southern DeButts Railyard that city officials say can no longer support large emergency vehicles or semi-trucks.

The project is one of 166 initiatives supported this year through the U.S. Department of Transportation's Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity grant program, which received funding from President Joe Biden's Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

"For years, the deteriorating Wilcox Boulevard Bridge, where we stand today, has decreased access to essential services for some of Chattanooga's most vulnerable neighborhoods and has limited the access point for one of our region's most critical national freight assets: the Norfolk Southern DeButts Railyard," State Rep. Yusuf Hakeem, D-Chattanooga, said during a news conference Friday. "The historic investment to replace and improve the bridge will shape the future of not only the nearby East Chattanooga communities, but also the entire region."