Consideration is being given to closing Hennessee Bridge over Collins River, according to Warren County Commissioner Tommy Savage.
“I was told the business that was awarded the project bid too low,” said Savage. “He’s going to go in the hole financially with the contract as it’s written. The only way for him to earn money and not go in the hole, is if the state allows him to shut the bridge down during construction. It will shave three months off the project. Leaving it open will take longer to complete and cost more.”
The project was awarded to Palmertree Construction by TDOT with a bid of $4.5 million. Per the contract, traffic was to continue to use one lane of the current bridge while construction takes place on a new bridge. Traffic signals on each side will continue the flow.
When one lane of the new bridge is complete, traffic will be diverted to that lane and the old bridge will be destroyed. The new 36-foot wide bridge would be completed before Oct. 31, 2018.
In order to change the original contract and alter the scope of the work, the construction company must obtain TDOT approval. TDOT reached out to Warren County officials, specifically the county commissioners representing the residents around the bridge, to ascertain what the local reaction would be to the bridge being closed.
The response was not in support. Savage met with TDOT this week and presented a representative with six letters urging against closing the bridge.
Meetings between TDOT representatives and four county commissioners were held Monday.