The state has approved the new four-lane to Woodbury to be named after former state Sen. Jerry Cooper, while the names of two local bridges will have to wait for approval.
During the county’s most recent Highway and Bridge Committee meeting, officials discussed the status of the naming projects. In addition to the new four-lane, county officials want to name two bridges after soldiers Joe Delong and Eric Frazier.
According to state Rep. Kevin Dunlap, the request to name the new road after Cooper was submitted to the state first and it was approved by the Tennessee General Assembly. However, Dunlap says the bridge requests were submitted later and not in time for approval this legislative session.
“If you look at the timeline, all three requests were not submitted together,” said Dunlap. “The road was submitted first and it was approved. We are planning to have a dedication ceremony and an unveiling of the sign for Sen. Jerry Cooper Highway in the fall. The state approved the name as requested. The two bridges came about a month later and they didn’t make it in time. They will have to wait until the next legislative session.”
Dunlap says he doesn’t expect there to be any problems with the bridge names, but the Tennessee General Assembly just meets on a part-time basis, typically from January to April.
“We are not like Congress,” said Dunlap. “We don’t meet year-round. Our session only lasts for three or four months. We were done this year around April 20.”
The two bridges in question are both on the new four-lane to Woodbury. County officials have requested the state allow them to name the bridges after Warren County natives Joe Delong and Eric Frazier.
Delong lived in Irving College. He served in Vietnam in 1967 and never came back. According to the U.S. Army, his death followed enemy capture, imprisonment and escape, but his remains have never been located. Based on accounts told by prisoners of war held with Delong, the incident occurred Nov. 8, 1967.
Frazier was severely injured Oct. 23, 2006 in Iraq when a Humvee he and three other Marines were riding in rolled over an improvised explosive device. He lost both legs, in addition to a number of other critical injuries.
While the full Warren County Commission approved all three measures, the Tennessee General Assembly must give final approval.