NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is announcing an $8.7 million project to repair the Interstate 24 bridges that cross over Woodland and Main Streets. The bridges have not had major repairs since they were constructed in 1961.
TDOT will be using a new and innovative approach to replace the bridges’ riding surface in order to save time and reduce the impacts on the motoring public. The Accelerated Bridge Construction technique will require the total closure of a section of I-24 for 13 weekends this spring and summer. Crews will first remove the deteriorated concrete from the bridge deck. Then, rather than pouring new concrete, crews will drop 277 prefabricated concrete deck panels into place. This process was used successfully on the bridge rehabilitation of State Route 24 over Snow Creek in Smith County in 2010.
Conventional bridge deck replacement techniques would have required lane closures to be in place on this stretch of I-24 for months, creating major impacts for motorists, especially during the morning and afternoon commutes.
“Trying to do major repairs to the busiest stretch of interstate in Nashville is a huge challenge,” said Commissioner John Schroer. “Long-term lane closures in the area would have major impacts, not just on I-24, but also on the surrounding areas. Closing the interstate on weekends will save time and avoid delays for thousands of motorists.”
During the 13 weekends, Interstate 24 will be closed in both directions from the I-24/I-65 split north of downtown to the I-24/I-40 split east of downtown. The closures are necessary due to the construction technique, as well as the safety of the workers and the motoring public. At certain times during construction, there will be openings in the bridge deck when the old deck is removed until the new panels are placed. These openings could lead to dangerous conditions and distractions if drivers were able to travel through the area.
Interstate traffic will detour around the work zone by taking the west loop around downtown Nashville. Motorists traveling westbound on I-24 or northbound on I-65 will take I-40 West to I-65 North, then back to I-24. Motorists traveling eastbound on I-24 or southbound on I-65 will take I-65 South to I-40 East, then back to I-24.
The first weekend closure is planned for April 20, 2012. The interstate will be shut down beginning Fridays at 9:00 p.m. and reopened no later than Mondays at 5:00 a.m. TDOT will avoid interstate closures during holidays and major downtown events. The interstate WILL NOT be closed the weekends of April 27-29 (Country Music Marathon), May 25-28 (Memorial Day Weekend), June 7-10 (CMA Music Festival), and June 22-24 (Concert at LP Field). Construction is expected to be complete by August 31, 2012.
Several detours will provide drivers access to various destinations in and around the downtown area during the interstate closures. More detailed interstate and side street detour information will be released next week prior to the first planned closure. These detours will also be available at http://www.tn.gov.tdot/i24bridges/. This website will also contain information about the project, scheduled closures, project updates, and frequently asked questions.
TDOT will use its Overhead Dynamic Message signs to direct motorists around the closure. Drivers are advised to be alert and follow the posted directions. Motorists should also plan ahead and avoid the area if at all possible. Law enforcement officers will be on site in the work zone to provide traffic control as the work is being completed. TDOT also asks drivers to use caution, reduce their speed and be alert to changing traffic conditions in work zones across the state.