The Walnut Street Bridge will not be scheduled for maintenance or closure until the city receives approval from the Tennessee Historical Commission, contrary to a report by an online local news site earlier this week.
According to city of Chattanooga Communications Director Richel Albright, the bridge will undergo several cosmetic improvements in the near future, but the project cannot be scheduled until the commission approves changes, since it is a historical monument.
The planned work will include repairs to the wood decking, pressure washing and repainting the superstructure and other improvements. According to Albright, the bridge is structurally sound, but needs "a little TLC."
A request to repair the bridge was submitted to the commission at the end of April, she said.
The report published Monday suggested the city might provide disruption funds to businesses affected by the closure. According to Albright, the Chattanooga Industrial Development Board had been discussing providing such funds to businesses impacted by the upcoming closure of Patten Parkway when one member asked if similar funds would be available to those affected by Walnut Street Bridge work in the future.
No such funds have been allocated or officially sought for the Walnut Street Bridge project, and there is not yet a timeline for the project, she said.
Albright added that the city is unsure if the bridge will be shut down completely during the maintenance or if it will be done in sections.
"On the bright side, [working in sections] leaves part of the bridge open," she said. "The downside, it takes longer to complete that way."
The bridge, originally built in the 1800s, was closed in 1978 and reopened as a pedestrian bridge in 1993. Since its re-opening, the bridge has undergone millions of dollars in upkeep, including a $2.7 million makeover in 2016.
Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6416.