The expected completion date for construction of a bridge on Cherokee Road is now around Christmas, stretching the original date back by about three months.
Cherokee Road remains closed while Johnson City’s Thomas Construction finishes a project that includes replacing a 25-foot single span slab bridge with a box bridge over Little Cherokee Creek just north of Maple Lane Farms.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation, which hired the firm and originally expected a Sept. 30 completion date as specified by the contract, has been charging the construction company liquidated damages of $250 per day since that date, said Mark Nagi, TDOT’s Region 1 community relations director.
An early November update on the project indicated the job would be complete by the end of that month or early December.
“According to project supervisor Jason Farmer, the project is ongoing with the contractor waiting on the concrete to cure as per our standard specifications,” Nagi said Tuesday. “The contractor plans to start backfilling the structure toward the end of the week, weather permitting. After backfilling is done, they should be able to pave, install guardrail and then be able to open the roadway. Target for that is sometime around Christmas, weather permitting.”
Johnson City officials said at the beginning of the project that while no city school buses used that route, motorists trying to get to and from their residences likely would be inconveienced.
The project consists of replacing a 25-foot single span slab bridge with a box bridge. The closure is about 250 yards outside the Johnson City limits when traveling southwest. Motorists can take Tenn. Highway 81 at the junction of Tenn. Highway 67 through Jonesborough to Tenn. Highway 34 to Tenn. Highway 381 back to Cherokee Road (Tenn. 67). Nagi said the plans require detours to be on state routes, though local traffic can use shorter routes on county roads.