TDOT spokesperson Mark Nagi shared on Oct. 26 that the Jones Cove Road bridge was back open after being closed for three months. He added that crews will still be in the area, removing detours signs and finishing the final cleanup.
In July, heavy rains caused the bridge to collapse. The closure sent drivers on a lengthy detour, with some drivers telling WATE that it added 30 minutes to their commute. TDOT began calling for bids for an emergency contract to repair the collapse. Because the bridge was a box bridge, it needed to be completely replaced.
Charles Blalock & Sons, Inc, submitted the lowest bid, $997,178.04, and was awarded the contract. The project began on Friday, Aug. 12. TDOT spokesperson Mark Nagi said they expected one lane of the bridge to open in mid-November with both lanes opening at the end of 2022, however construction work went much faster.
On October 6, Nagi shared a photo of the work’s progress, showing that the work was moving quickly.
Prior to the collapse, the bridge was in need of repair. WATE discovered the bridge was the second lowest-rated bridge in Sevier County. The National Bridge Registry gave the bridge a score of 22.9 out of 100 following an inspection on August 19, 2021.