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County officials proud of new bridge
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Local officials braved a cold, rainy afternoon Tuesday for the dedication of the recently completed Swan Mill Road Bridge just off Vervilla Road.
Road Superintendent Levie Glenn says the bridge was one of the goals of his father, former Road Superintendent Harold Glenn, and both men are proud to see the nearly $1 million project done.
“Planning started on this sometime in 2010,” said Levie. “It’s a state aid bridge with a 75-25 matching grant, 75 percent from the state and 25 from the county.”
Levie said the Highway Department gets state aid money each year, and was able to save and consolidate the funds for 2010 and 2011 and apply those to the 25 percent matching funds needed from the county.
The contractor was Highways Inc. from Cookeville and the engineer was Kyle Hazel of Professional Engineering from Sparta.
Levie says the bridge should avoid flooding in all but the heaviest rain accumulations.
“I’m glad to see the people out at that end of the county get the bridge,” Levie said. “It’s a good throughway from the area over to Highway 55. It’s always been a flood area and people had to go a long way around when the old bridge flooded. We designed it so we hope it will eliminate that problem most of the time. The bridge itself is around 210 feet long and up the road we’ve got two double-barrel box culverts to help with any overflow.”
Levie said the increased width of the bridge compared to the one-lane old structure would allow for farm machinery and other wide loads to travel unimpeded, and would provide a much safer passage for area residents.
“Safety was a big issue,” Levie said. “The other little narrow bridge was really dangerous. The slope of the hill leading down to the bridge is much more friendly to traffic. It’s not as steep as it was. We’ve just glad to be a part of this. We thank our Highway and Bridge Committee and our county commissioners, and the state for the state aid funding. That’s what made it possible to build this bridge.”
County Executive John Pelham said the bridge will be a boon for that end of the county and is just one of a number of projects designed to improve the county’s road system.
“To me it’s just an overall asset to the county,” Pelham said. “When you think about Swan Mill Bridge, when you think about the Hickory Creek Bridge and the Jack Smithson Memorial Bridge on Wheeler Road, we are seeing a lot of improvements in our infrastructure in our county that will benefit our citizens for years and years to come.”
Also at the dedication was 9th District Commissioner Bessie Smithson, who has several friends and family members in the community and said she is proud to see the structure completed after close to a year of construction.
“I think it is such an asset for the Vervilla community,” Smithson said. “The neighbors are all so grateful for it. They’re all excited about the bridge, and I think it is a beautiful bridge. It really looks good.”