5, 2007 - The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT)
announced that the James White Parkway Bridge, which spans from Willow
Avenue to the Norfolk Southern Railway, will be demolished at approximately
7:30 a.m. Sunday, January 7, 2007.
James White Parkway was closed to traffic on December 17, 2006 for
nine months, for reconstruction.
The approximately 800 foot James White Parkway Bridge will be demolished
using explosive charges placed below ground and a few feet above ground
in the bridge piers. The demolition will not affect the bridge sections
directly over Willow Street or the Norfolk Southern Railway. Those
sections of the bridge will be removed by heavy equipment prior to
the demolition activity. Jackson Avenue will be closed until debris
from the demolition is removed. Construction crews will begin the
clean up as soon as the implosion is complete.
Placing the explosive charges at ground level will be like
knocking the legs out from under the bridge. The entire bridge structure
should lean and fall very near its current footprint, said
Jeff Walker, spokesperson for Ray Bell Construction. By using
this method we hope to minimize flying debris.
Law enforcement will establish a 1,000-foot safety perimeter around
the bridge site that will close several local streets adjacent to
the bridge for several hours before and after the blast.
This bridge demolition is part of the SmartFix40 project which
is currently underway in downtown Knoxville. This accelerated construction
process involves completely closing a roadway to allow around-the-clock
work that is uninterrupted by traffic in order to dramatically reduce
the time it takes to complete the project, thereby reducing the
long-term inconvenience to motorists.
As part of the SmartFIX 40 project, I-40 through traffic will be
rerouted onto I-640 for 14 months starting in the spring of 2008.
Local traffic will have access to downtown at all times. More than
two years of traffic delays, lane closures and motorist frustrations
will be avoided by allowing construction crews the opportunity to
work without restriction form moving traffic while traffic is rerouted
from I-40. I-40 through downtown carries an average of 103,000 vehicles