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Furnace Creek Bridge Project is nearing completion

Bridge at Johnson County high school over furnace creek
Workers prepare the surface before paving the new bridge over Furnace Creek connecting Fairview Avenue and Johnson County High School in Mountain City. After a lengthy pause resulting from the formation of a sinkhole at the bridge construction site, the project resumed and is now on schedule for completion by the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Tamas Mondovics

As last reported, earlier this summer, local school officials did not have much confidence in the timely completion of the bridge construction over Furnace Creek connecting Fairview Avenue and Johnson County High School. But that view may now be changing and based on the recent progress many are now a bit more optimistic and are holding their breath in hopes of the project reaching its deadline by the start of the new school year on Tuesday, August 7, 2018.

“We hope that the bridge construction will be completed over the summer,’ said Johnson County Director of Schools, Mischelle Simcox at the end of last season.

The bridge construction project, which began last fall, hit an unexpected snag when during excavation a good-sized sinkhole appeared in the middle of the site halting the work until further notice.Upon some inquiry by this newspaper, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) officials were clearly put on notice and responded accordingly, resulting in an immediate improvement of the project’s momentum.

According to Community Relations Officer, Mark Nagi with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, following the inspection of the sinkhole by TDOT Geotechnical Division and TDOT Environmental Division, the project resumed with filling the to approximately 10 feet wide and at least 25 feet deep sinkhole with several loads of stone.

Fast forward to today, Simcox may have her wish after all. Workers are now seen making preparations for paving the bridge as well as the connecting roadway along with some finishing touches. Once construction is done the regular school drop off, and pickup route is expected resume giving nearby neighborhoods a much-welcomed relief from the increased school traffic during the season. For more information about Johnson County schools, current projects, agenda items, please attend the upcoming Johnson County Board of Education monthly meeting scheduled for Thursday, July 12.