I-40 Bridge Over Douglas Lake in Jefferson County to Close May 8 for Repairs

Friday, May 01, 2009 | 11:01 am
Crews work to repair bridge bearings on the I-40 truss bridge.
Crews work to repair bridge bearings on the I-40 truss bridge.

Construction Crews will Replace Deficient Bridge Bearings
 Knoxville, Tenn. - Tennessee Department of Transportation crews will close a section of I-40 in Jefferson County on Friday, May 8, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. in order to repair a decades old deck truss bridge over Douglas Lake and the French Broad River at mile marker 424.5. The bridge will remain closed for no longer than ten days. During the closure, bridge crews will replace four deficient bridge bearings. Bridge bearings carry the weight of the bridge and allow for movement caused by traffic and seasonal expansion and contraction. I-40 traffic will be detoured onto U.S. Highway 25W / 70 at exits 432 westbound and 424 eastbound. I-40 eastbound traffic heading into North Carolina should plan to use I-81 northbound to I-26 eastbound to bypass the bridge closure. I-40 westbound motorists can bypass the bridge closure by accessing I-26 in Asheville, North Carolina.
"The Interstate 40 steel deck truss bridge in Jefferson County is a good example of the critical, and expensive, infrastructure needs we are facing across the state as our roads and bridges age," said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. "We are currently working on a plan to replace this bridge, but it will be an extremely expensive undertaking. Bridge safety is a top priority of the department so until we can replace this bridge with a more modern structure we must make these repairs as needed."
Four hydraulic jacks capable of lifting 560 tons each will raise the bridge only a few inches to allow enough clearance to remove the old bearings and to install the new ones. The four new bearings weigh 3,000 lbs. each and have been specifically designed for the bridge.
"The contractor has ten days to replace all four bridge bearings, but we are optimistic they will complete the repairs in much less time," explained TDOT Chief Engineer Paul Degges. "However, this repair is complex and we must allow enough time for any kind of unforeseen problems. TDOT engineers will monitor the entire operation to insure the repairs are made correctly."
The four lane deck truss bridge built in 1960 averages approximately 30,000 vehicles per day and is inspected by TDOT bridge personnel every year.
"We know this work will inconvenience some motorists; however, safety is our number one priority, and we cannot have traffic on the bridge during the bearing replacement operation," Degges added.
 A signed detour (see map) will be in place and will utilize U.S. Highway 25 / 70 from exits 432 westbound and 424 eastbound. The detour is approximately eight miles long. A temporary signal will be installed at the intersection of U.S. Highway 25 / 70 and State Route 113 in Jefferson County to give priority to detoured interstate traffic. In addition, information on the closure will be placed on TDOT's 511 traveler information hotline, TDOT SmartWAY web site, overhead message signs and on Highway Advisory Radio in the area. The North Carolina Department of Transportation will also provide advanced warning of the closure on overhead message signs in the Asheville area.
 "In conjunction with the traffic signal, Oak Grove Road will be temporarily closed at the intersection with U.S. Highway 25 / 70. Local traffic can use nearby Spring Creek Road to access the highway and I-40," said TDOT Region One Director Fred Corum. "Law enforcement officers will be stationed at both ends of the detour and will keep a close watch on traffic flow."
 The contractor, Mountain States Contractors of Mount Juliet, Tennessee faces a $25,000 per day penalty if the bridge is not open within 10 calendar days from the day the bridge closes. In addition to the bearing replacements, the $1.8 million I-40 Bridge repair project, which began last November, includes repairs to the bridge deck, super structure components and spot painting.
The I-40 Bridge repair project is part of an aggressive bridge program that has dedicated more than $116.6 million to the replacement and repair of Tennessee's bridges in fiscal year 2008-2009.


For more information contact:
Travis Brickey
TDOT Community Relations Officer

I-40 Jefferson County Bridge Closure Maps289.78 KB