Market Street Bridge repair project delayed

During Monday’s meeting, Clinton City Council members were updated on the status of two TDOT projects taking place around town.

The city’s TDOT Project Liasion, Lynn Murphy, drafted a memo also sent to WYSH describing the status of the project to make repairs to the bridge over Market Street in Charles Seivers Boulevard downtown and the widening and signalization project on the northbound exit ramp at mile marker 122 off of I-75.

Work on the Market Street Bridge has been suspended for the past few months because, as Murphy writes, the bridge work began with the closing of one eastbound lane and crews began removing the existing asphalt and concrete surfaces. That excavation exposed unanticipated issues, namely that “much of the reinforcement steel connecting the bridge deck to the bridge overhang, consisting of the sidewalk and parapet wall, had been cut at some point (possibly during a previous rehab project) years ago.”

That led to a need for additional engineering as well as the drafting of new plans, which will “require the complete replacement of the existing sidewalks and parapet walls,” according to the memo. Those plans have been sent to TDOT headquarters in Nashville, and officials expect it to take about a month to be reviewed and approved. Once that happens, and the necessary funding is secured, the contractor will be notified that they can proceed. Murphy says that his conversations with the contractor indicate that once it is given notice to proceed, it will take approximately two months to mobilize equipment and material before any work can resume.

Those changes must also be approved by Norfolk Southern Railroad, which owns the tracks the bridge crosses. Those changes will also add some $1.2 million to the total cost of the state-funded project.

When work topside on the Market Street was halted, crews shifted their efforts to under the bridge. New paint for the steel girder beams beneath the bridge deck requires that the surface be properly prepared by sand blasting, to remove the old paint, according to Murphy. The paint chips and sand blasting media must be contained, recovered, and then properly disposed of. Sandblasting work was underway, but was suspended when some of the paint recovery equipment blocked the required visibility distance for the vehicles crossing the railroad tracks. New methods that will comply are currently being explored.

Since the bridge repair work is over the railroad, certain methods are required to ensure safety for both vehicular and train traffic at the Market Street railroad crossing. This requires the painting sub-contractor to submit work method plans to Norfolk-Southern for review and approval, before any work may proceed. These reviews take time and add to the project calendar.

TDOT says that the ramp widening and signalization project at I-75 should finish on schedule, or prior to the October 31st completion date. This project costs on this job are $762,850.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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