77 bridges in Northeast Tennessee receive poor ranking, including Goshen Valley Road bridge

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has identified 77 bridges in the region that are “poorly ranked,” formerly known as structurally deficient, and the Goshen Valley Road bridge is one of them. This includes the Goshen Valley Road bridge located in Church Hill, Tennessee.

TDOT has identified a number of bridges in seven counties of Northeast Tennessee that have been rated as poor and critical. At present, the critical bridges are closed for use.

According to Mark Nagi, the spokesperson for TDOT, the Goshen Valley Road bridge and others that are classified as structurally deficient are still safe for drivers to use. However, a specific component of the bridge has been identified as being in poor condition.

Nagi emphasized that ensuring the safety of the public remains TDOT’s top priority. Any bridge or roadway that poses a potential threat to motorists will not be permitted to remain open.

There are growing concerns about the safety of the Goshen Valley Road bridge, with many people believing that the county government has not properly maintained it. There is a fear that the lack of maintenance could pose a serious safety risk to those who use the bridge.

County resident Bill Killen is among those who share concerns about the bridge’s condition. He became aware of the issue after consulting with the Goshen Valley Volunteer Fire Department and has since been closely monitoring the situation.

In March, the fire department made an announcement that they would no longer cross the bridge with their trucks. This decision was made due to the bridge’s weight limit of 10 tons and concerns about its structural condition.

More News:  Woman named Elizabeth was thrown and killed in a crash on the NJ Turnpike in Westampton.

Killen expressed his concern regarding the 60-year-old bridge and its condition sufficiency rating of six out of a hundred. Despite not being an engineer, he has vast experience in reviewing plans and drawings for construction. He questions what can be done to maintain the bridge and ensure its sustainability for a considerable period.

According to a recent inventory and appraisal report by TDOT, News Channel 11 has revealed that the county-owned bridge has received a meager sufficiency rating of six out of 100. A rating below 50 makes a bridge eligible for replacement, and this bridge falls well below that mark.

Due to the weight limit of the bridge, the county school system has had to redirect their buses.

Mark DeWitte, the Mayor of Hawkins County, has stated that certain structural spans require reinforcement. Additionally, he mentioned that there is erosion that needs to be addressed by painting over and sealing it up.

According to some sources, the county government has been aware of the bridge’s deteriorating condition for over a decade. Maintenance records from TDOT reveal that as early as 2011, the bridge was in dire need of repair. The comments in a June 2015 document indicate that the bridge’s rating had been downgraded to poor condition due to the progression of corrosion on bearing devices and the formation of holes in beams.

According to the Hawkins County records, the budgets of the Highway Department reveal a lack of investment in bridge construction in the years that followed. More specifically, the budget for the fiscal year 2021 indicates that no funds were allocated towards bridge construction in either 2019 or 2020. However, the budget report for the fiscal year 2022 unveils that a total of $89,800 was spent on bridge construction during the fiscal year 2020.

More News:  Two individuals injured in shooting incident in Seventh Ward

The Goshen Valley Road bridge is not mentioned in the Road Committee meeting minutes from the summer of 2019 to 2022. News Channel 11 obtained minutes from various meetings held during this period, including those from July 25 and December 10 in 2019, January 9, May 21, July 8, October 23, and December 17 in 2020, April 6, August 11, and November 4 in 2021, and March 16, April 28, and June 24 in 2022.

According to Killen, Hawkins County government has earned a reputation for procrastinating and not addressing important issues in a timely manner. He has personally witnessed this behavior.

According to available records, the Highway Department has no documentation of any meetings held between the county and TDOT in 2019 or 2021.

DeWitte, the current county mayor, and Danny Jones, the current county road superintendent, will mark their two-year anniversary in office this coming September.

According to a maintenance document from TDOT in 2017, a follow-up inspection was conducted in 2014 after a repair project was completed under contract.

The county officials are considering a tax hike of approximately 34 cents, allocating 10 cents solely for the maintenance and repair of bridges and roads.

According to DeWitte, the county was given a proposal by engineers for a temporary solution to the bridge problem. This proposal would increase the weight limit up to 20 tons, which would address two main concerns – the ability for school buses to use the bridge again and for some fire trucks to pass through.

According to the quote, the repairs are anticipated to increase the bridge’s longevity by a decade and will come with a price tag of approximately $1.5 million.

More News:  LAPD Disrupts Illegal Street Takeover in Downtown Los Angeles

According to DeWitte, the approval of next year’s budget by county leaders is a prerequisite for any progress to be made on the fix.

According to him, the county has taken further measures to caution drivers about the weight limit of the bridge by installing more signs. In addition, TDOT has been requested to put up more signs at both ends of Goshen Valley Road.

According to Killen, there is a need for further action to be taken.

According to Killen, once a driver of a tractor-trailer takes a left turn onto Goshen Valley Road, they have no option but to cross the bridge as there is no other place for them to turn around. Furthermore, backing up onto 11W is not a safe option for them.

According to DeWitte, the installation of a turnaround is not on the agenda. However, he remains optimistic that the signs will aid in resolving the problem.

On June 24 at 6 p.m., the full county commission will convene on the first floor of the county courthouse. During this meeting, the budget, which includes the proposed tax increase, may be presented to the commissioners for their approval.

The Budget Committee is currently revisiting the budget and proposed tax increase in preparation for their upcoming 3 p.m. meeting. According to DeWitte, due to the expected crowd, the committee will be convening on the top floor of the courthouse.

Reference Article

Avatar photo
MBS Staff
Articles: 7808

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *