Federal stimulus cash will replace two Blount bridges

Federal stimulus money will soon be flowing to replace two one-lane bridges in rural Blount County.

Blount County Highway superintendent Bill Dunlap said he recently received word from the Tennessee Department of Transportation that the county would get stimulus money to pay for rebuilding Reagan Mill Bridge and Thompson Bridge.

Reagan Mill Bridge is off US 129 at Indian Warpath Road. Thompson Bridge is off US 411 South near Monroe County.

“The bridges are obsolete. They are one lane bridges that are structurally pretty sound but with the alignment of them and the fact they are one-lane bridges, they need to be replaced,” Dunlap said.

The stimulus will pay for 100 percent of construction.

Dunlap has already paid TDOT 20 percent of the estimated cost for the bridges to cover design and right of way purchases. It is estimated that Thompson Bridge will cost $1.42 million to replace. Reagan Mill Bridge is estimated at $460,000. What the county saves is the 20 percent (roughly $380,000) of matching construction costs.

The county has had contracts with TDOT for three years, undergoing the process of designing the bridges and then paying for right of ways. Stimulus money goes for “shovel-ready” projects that can be started relatively quickly and put people to work and these projects qualified.

Dunlap said TDOT normally does letting of contracts in early May. “I anticipate hearing from them as to who the contractor will be by the middle of May,” he said.

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