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A portion of Interstate 24 in Marion County, Tenn., will be closed to traffic tonight, with detours in effect into early Sunday morning.

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Murphy Hollow Road Bridge detour

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The highway will be closed so a portion of Murphy Hollow Road Bridge, which goes over the highway near mile marker 165, can be demolished. Portions of I-24, varying in length depending on which direction you're traveling, will be closed from 10 p.m. today to 6 a.m. Sunday.

Jennifer Flynn of the Tennessee Department of Transportation said there was no good time to close down the interstate, but TDOT research shows Saturday night and Sunday morning are the least-traveled hours.

The bridge will be demolished with heavy machinery, dropping debris onto I-24. The roadway will be protected with mats so it won't be damaged. The debris will then be hauled away. The bridge also will be closed during this time.

Eastbound travelers will be rerouted at Exit 161 onto SR-134 East — the road changes to SR-299 at the Georgia line — for approximately 10 miles. At Exit 169, travelers will get back onto I-24 East via the ramp.

For westbound traffic, the highway will be closed at the I-24/I-59 interchange in Dade County, Ga. Drivers will be rerouted at Exit 174 to U.S. Highway 11/41 and proceed north on U.S. 4 for approximately 17 miles to TVA Road/State Route 27. Traffic can then turn left and travel onto the ramp to I-24 West.

Half of the new bridge already has been built, Flynn said, and the other half will be built once the old structure comes down.

The bridge is expected to be finished by November, she said. Until then, a traffic signal will be used, as the bridge will be reduced to one lane. The work is weather dependent and with delays there is always added time.

"It's just best to avoid the area altogether," Flynn said.

Contact staff writer Evan Hoopfer at ehoopfer@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731 or twitter.com/EvanHoopfer.

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