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Robert Matthews Highway Bridge Running 6-8 Weeks Behind

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Robert Matthews Highway Bridge Running 6-8 Weeks Behind

The replacement of a bridge on Robert Matthews Highway in White County is running six to eight weeks behind after contractors began the project without the correct drill casings.

White County Highway Supervisor Jerry Sawyer said weather has held up the project as well. A new crew has stepped in over the past several weeks and Sawyer said productivity has since doubled. He said the bridge is located on one of the most heavily traveled roads in the county, making the project extremely important.

“The first six to eight weeks they were there was the best working weather and they didn’t have the parts to work with,” Sawyer said. “They also had a new format on-site down there, and they’ve since taken him out and implemented another foreman in. And since then, he’s really kicked it into gear, brought a bigger crew, brought better equipment, brought more know-how.”

Sawyer said he is keeping a positive mindset now that crews are working more efficiently. He said the detour for the route has caused problems as well, as it takes semi-trucks through narrow residential roads.

“When they see the detour signs, they think it’s a big detour,” Sawyer said. “But it’s just a small 15 or 16-foot road that we’re detouring on, so that’s the only option we had at the time. And we’ve had some people call about more traffic and stuff and I’ve had to fix a few things; people getting stuck turned around in their yards or driving where they don’t need to be driving.”

Sawyer said since the project began, additional signage has been added to guide drivers through a more appropriate route. He said he wishes he could put a note on Google Maps telling drivers to stay on Highway 111. He said delay or no delay, bridge projects are a meticulous process.

“No safety hazards, but the railing on the sides was falling apart,” Sawyer said. “the bridge piers and everything were still in good shape, but the road top was kind of starting to crack and fall apart.”

He said contractors are currently working on getting new piers in place. He said the state-funded project would be a big lift to White County, even after the string of bad luck.


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