Alcoa pedestrian bridge erected over bypass

Oct 6, 2010

By Iva Butler

The 82-ton, 225-foot-wide pedestrian bridge over the U.S. 129 Bypass in Alcoa was installed in approximately four hours Sunday morning.

The four sections of the burgundy-colored bridge are held together with 1,248 one-inch bolts, said Alcoa Director of Public Works Kenny Wiggins.

Barnhart Crane and Riggings of Knoxville provided two large cranes, one capable of lifting 240 tons and the other 200 tons.

Installing the bolts were steelworkers from Powell Erectors, also out of Knoxville.

Finishing work is expected to be done by early December when the bridge is to open to the public. The work will entail pouring the concrete deck, lighting, painting the steel under the ramps and installing hand rails.

A City of Alcoa sign, which will be aluminum in color, will be placed on the bridge and will be backlit.

The contractor on the $1.8 million stimulus project is Bell and Associates Construction.

The four sections were transported via flatbed trailer from the manufacturing plant in Fort Payne, Ala.

They arrived on Thursday and Friday. Two sections on each side of the bypass were bolted together and at 7 a.m. Sunday crane operators began lifting the cranes so steelworkers could bolt the two pieces together. The bridge was up by 11 a.m.

The bypass was closed starting at 4 a.m. and opened back up at 1:40 p.m., surpassing expectations. Bell officials had hoped to get the bridge up by noon Sunday and the road re-opened by 2 p.m.
Closure of the bypass from the split at Hall Road and at the Louisville Road intersection resulted in traffic backing up on city streets, particularly Bessemer Street.

The bridge was a long time coming.

Ten years ago we started looking for a way to link that side of the Bypass to the Greenway trails that run throughout the city, Wiggins said.

At first Alcoa pursued the idea of tunneling under the bypass, but the base level of Culton Creek would have kept it flooded.

The city then looked at a pedestrian bridge. Some grant money was obtained but not nearly enough to build the bridge, said Alcoa City Manager Mark Johnson. “We couldn't afford it from tax dollars.” The project was put on the shelf.

Then stimulus money came available for shovel ready projects and the pedestrian bridge became viable.

The engineering for the bridge, which costs approximately $200,000, was paid for several years ago and used as the city matching funds.

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