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Hennessee Bridge worth the wait
Tommy Savage.jpg

Well worth the wait. Those are the words being used to describe the opening of the new Hennessee Bridge over Collins River. 

“It was absolutely worth the wait,” said Warren County Commissioner Tommy Savage. “I’ve been out there every day. For three years, I was out there every day. If it prevents one person from getting hurt, it was worth it. The old bridge was a hazard.

The $4.5 million TDOT project started in early 2017 by Palmertree Construction Company with an original completion date of Oct. 31, 2018. An 18-month project incurred some unexpected issues and delays. The new bridge opened last week.

“There were a lot of things that came up that even TDOT couldn’t foresee,” said Savage. “A lot of things slowed it down. I hate it for the people who had to endure the 3- to 6-minute red lights, but to know what we got for the rest of our lives in return for that wait, it was well worth it.”

The old bridge was 18 feet wide from curb to curb, while the new bridge is 36 feet wide with sidewalks on both sides of the bridge. 

According to TDOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn, the project is not complete and there is a possibility of traffic being flagged.

“TDOT has conducted an inspection and provided the contractor with a punch list of items to address before the project will be considered totally complete,” said Flynn. “Fortunately, the items remaining to be completed are for the most part under the bridge so we shouldn’t see any more impacts to traffic. However, there is a slide on one of the embankments that needs to be stabilized and we asked the contractor to alter some guardrail, so we will most likely have to flag traffic to do this.”

Flynn estimated that another 30 to 45 days before the project is considered 100 percent complete due to wet weather and upcoming rains slowing the stabilization work required to obtain the environmental Notice of Termination, which will close out the permits for the project.