Long-awaited Bridge over Broad opens in Murfreesboro this weekend

(Photo: WKRN)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – A major milestone for drivers in Murfreesboro, the long- awaited Bridge over Broad is expected to open this weekend.

The bridge project is supposed to help drivers better navigate one of the state’s busiest intersection.

Both sides of the Bridge over Broad should be open Sunday.

The bridge will allow the traffic flow on Old Fort Parkway and Memorial Boulevard to continue over Broad Street, helping to prevent traffic jams at the intersection.

PHOTOS: Bridge over Broad takes shape in Murfreesboro

(Photo: WKRN)

The project is 18-months behind schedule because of design and utility issues.

“It was delayed for us, but we really wanted to get this project done right. The city wanted to get this project done right; for us that 18-months was definitely worth it to make sure we were not cutting corners and making sure we did anything correctly,” Tennessee Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kathryn Shulte said.

RELATED: Bridge to help ease congestion at busy Murfreesboro intersection

The original cost was about $17.2 million, while the final price tag will be about $22.8 million.

TDOT officials said the cost is outweighed by the much needed improvements.

“This intersection was one of the busiest in the entire state of Tennessee, so it was a big priority for us to elevate the congestion in that area,” said Schulte.

(Photo: WKRN)

She continued, “That’s what this bridge does – it allows you, if you’re traveling through, you don’t even have to stop. You can keep traveling straight through. I do think it will make it a little safer. You know, there are not many areas to crash when you are able to just head through. You don’t have to stop.”

Even though the bridge will open this weekend, there is still more work ahead.

“The project is not finished, we still have traffic signal work that needs to be done, there is still paving work that needs to be done, and of course some cosmetic landscaping work,” Schulte said. So there are going to still be construction workers out there so people do need to be aware of that.”

It’s hard to find anyone more excited to see the end of the Bridge over Broad project than businesses near the massive construction site.

Master barber James Gresham has a direct view of the project from the 61 Fly Barbershop on Northeast Broad Street. He said he can’t wait for the bridge to be open.

“I think it’s going to bring a little more attraction,” Gresham said.  “Traffic will flow a lot smoother.”

He said since construction started customers have had a hard time making it to the barbershop.

“We’ve had these problems for the past couple of years, the traffic flow of not being able to get into the location, getting to the barbershop.  It definitely – I feel people will be able to get to us without having to be a hassle and take alternate routes,” Gresham said.

And it has hurt his bottom line.

“Our Saturdays are normally like our busiest days, during that duration of time with the construction, days actually slowed down a lot.  When they shut down Broad Street our clientele shutdown a lot as well.  People didn’t know how to get in or they didn’t want to deal with going through the messed up roads to get to the back,” Gresham explained.

When all the dust from the construction equipment settles and both lanes of Bridge Over Broad open, Gresham is hoping it was all worth it.

“Hopefully, you know, they’re all done that people will be able to see that they can get back this way easier,” Gresham said.