Transportation officials will shut down a segment of Interstate 24 east of downtown for a series of 13 weekends beginning next week.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation outlined plans for the $8.7 million bridge-rehabilitation project to replace the decks of the two I-24 bridges at Woodland and Main streets. The first of the weekend closures — set between 9 p.m. Fridays and 5 a.m. Mondays — is scheduled to begin Friday, April 20. The project is expected to be complete by Aug. 31. Officials said they hope the drastic measure — closing an entire interstate segment — will decrease the time necessary to complete the bridge work.
The weekend closures, in four different phases, will shutdown both directions of I-24 traffic from the I-24/I-65 split north of town to the I-24/I-40 split east of downtown, requiring eight different detours in the immediate area around the interstate.
The weekend closures are meant to reduce the overall length of the rehab project with four crews working alternate 24/7 shifts each weekend, with scheduled closures weather permitting.
“The reason why we’re doing [an accelerated schedule] is because obviously where we are is an area that has a lot of traffic, a lot of concerns and it’s got an important thing [nearby] … which is LP Field,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer.
The interstate will remain open during holidays and major city events including the upcoming Country Music Marathon, Memorial Day weekend, the CMA Music Festival and the Tim McGraw/Kenny Chesney concert at LP Field.
TDOT plans to release specific information regarding detours on its website next week ahead of the first scheduled weekend closure. That information is to be made available here .
Schroer acknowledged that the weekend closures would result in “significant” detours, and “we will ask for everybody’s patience.” But Schroer said the project was necessary due to “severe deterioration” on the bridges — first built in 1961 and widened in 1985.
The accelerated rehab project will rely on installing prefabricated concrete deck panels as opposed to actually pouring the concrete. Schroer said TDOT first used the process in Smith County in 2010. TDOT Deputy Commissioner Paul Degges said during weekdays crews would be able to continue some work on the bridges without closing any Interstate 24 lanes.
“That allows the contractor to … come in, they can dismantle the bridge, put the new precast components in and then have the road opened back up to traffic on Monday morning,” Degges said.
The Metro Public Works Department will work with TDOT to help orchestrate the detours throughout the project. All lanes of interstate traffic were set to remain open during the week.
|I-24 Closure Detour Map FINAL.pdf ||136.56 KB|