The City of Smithville has received orders from the state to close the bridge across Fall Creek (also known as Town Creek) on Holmes Creek Road.
Authorities said the 42-foot span at the bottom of what is generally known as Town Hill will be closed to traffic on Oct. 30 after a Tennessee Department of Transportation evaluation found "100 percent corrosion" on the steel I-beams supporting the structure, holes in the concrete deck and inadequate bracing. Smithville Public Works Director Kevin Robinson told the Review that the bridge will be replaced, but the process could take several months.
"We will be shutting it down on Friday morning. We don’t know exactly how long it will be closed, probably at least six months," Robinson said. "We will have to get an engineer to come in and draw up plans, then it will have to be approved by the state before we can even start the bidding process."
Robinson said the majority of the cost of replacing the structure will likely come from state funds, with a small local match. "The price of building a new bridge should be covered by state aid money. The city should have to pay only a two percent match to get the state funds," he shared.
Robinson said the road will be closed for the duration of the project, and that traffic will be required to find another route.
The existing bridge is 42 feet, five inches long and 33 feet, six inches wide. The bridge was posted by TDOT for a gross weight limit of three tons at its previous inspection. This inspection brought recommendations that the bridge be closed to traffic until all steel I-beams, the concrete deck, steel bracing and the side rail are replaced.
After the bridge has been updated, it will need to be re-inspected and re-evaluated in order to determine its load carrying capacity and a weight limit posting, if required.