STATE SHUTS DOWN ENIGMA COMMUNITY BRIDGE
The Tennessee Department of Transportation has closed a bridge in the Enigma community because of safety issues. Located on Webster Road, the bridge crosses Little Indian Creek, connecting the Enigma community in Smith County to the Ensor Hollow community in Putnam County. Because of the closing, through traffic on Webster Road is shutdown. Though the bridge is one lane, the structure was significant enough to be included in the state transportation department’s Improve Act which was passed by state legislators in 2017. The structure is one of several bridges located on county, state and federal roadways located in Smith County listed for replacement through the Improve Act.
The state transportation department sent the county highway department on October 6 a notice the bridge was to be closed by October 20 in order for the county to remain in compliance with state transportation department and federal highway regulations, according to a statement issued by the state transportation department concerning the closing. “If the county chooses to make repairs to the bridge it can afterwards be reopened to traffic,” according to the statement. However, since the bridge is included in the Improve Act of 2017, the state transportation department has plans to replace the bridge.
Under that plan, the project is in the “early design phase” and will require “right-of-way acquisition from adjoining properties”, according to state transportation department officials. The project is tentatively set for contract letting in the fall of 2023, according to state transportation department officials. In 2017, the Improve Act was billed as the largest transportation department infrastructure project approved by the state and supported by former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. Road Superintendent Michael Kemp said the bridge was closed last week after the department received the letter from the state.
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