NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Transportation’s ambitious plan to replace eight of Nashville’s worst bridges moves into a major phase next week.
Starting at 8 p.m. July 24 through 6 a.m. July 27, the south loop of Interstate 40 will be shut down. It will be the first road closure of the $62 million project.
The I-40 bridge is nearly 50 years old and has been in disrepair for years. In one incident, chunks of the bridge deck fell from the Charlotte Avenue bridge onto the road below.
No one was injured, but it did contribute to TDOT coming up with a plan to rehab and replace the eight bridges over the next year.
“We can’t have that happen,” TDOT spokeswoman Heather Jensen said. “This project is extremely aggressive, but we think we can do it because we have a great contractor.”
Prefabricated materials will be moved into place during the weekend-long road closures.
In all, TDOT is planning for around 13 weekend closures between now and June 2016.
“We announced this in April and they have been working ever since with a few lane closures happening on the side roads,” Jensen said.
More than 140,000 drivers use that stretch of I-40 every day, so the impact of the project will be on a massive scale.
TDOT has also worked with Metro Nashville’s Office of Emergency Management to plan out alternate routes for emergency responders.
“We’ve attended multiple meetings on these closings and while we don’t have specific detour plans in place, all of our personnel are aware of the construction and are being provided maps and times of closures so they can seek alternate routes,” Nashville Fire Department Spokesman Brian Haas said in an email. “Our drivers know these roads very well and have multiple ways to get around.”
Haas continued, “The construction will definitely be a bit of an inconvenience, but we’re ready for it and patient care and fire responses shouldn’t be affected.”
TDOT said it is important for drivers to plan ahead and watch for road closure announcements over the coming weeks.
Weather could cause the delay or postponement of some road closures. A decision about a postponement will be made the Wednesday before a scheduled closure on the following Friday.
For more information on the road closures, click here.