The Earth be spanned, connected by network. The lands be welded together.

Walt Whitman about American bridges

In a dramatic display of a drawbridge in action, the Market Street Bridge’s opened spans closed Friday night, Aug. 3.  At the first of the grand reopening events, sponsors and attendees enjoyed a reception on the southern approach of the bridge.  The spans of the bridge then closed to allow guests to traverse the newly restored architectural treasure as they entered an elegant dining experience by Swiss Am on the northern approach.
Special thanks to Mistress of Ceremonies Cindy Sexton, WRCB-TV anchor, Mayor Ron Littlefield, Chattanooga City Councilwomen Linda Bennett and Sally Robinson.  Featured music was performed by Dan Landrum and Danny Sample.
The grand reopening featured two artists.  Brent Sanders created an acrylic and ink painting called “Market Street Bridge Ascending.”  He spent two months photographing the bridge from distinctive angles to capture the right vantage point.
“Although I’ve painted the bridge many times, I’ve never painted it with the spans open,” said Brent.  “I wanted to use the raised spans as a symbolic gesture of the bridge reopening.”
Adorning the tables were glass orbs from Tommy Spake’s “Wisp” series.  Each paperweight-sized piece is different, with a lighted base that showcases an original color wisp combination.
“The ‘Wisp’ design represents a moment in time, a memory,” said Tommy.  “The bridge is a grand symbol of Chattanooga’s history and future.  The ‘Wisp’ is meant to capture and celebrate this moment in Chattanooga’s future.”
The “Wisp” orbs were presented as gifts to attendees to remember the grand reopening of the bridge.
From live bands to lively demonstrations like fly fishing, belly dancing and bagpipes, the Bridge celebrations continued Saturday, Aug. 4.  In addition to the merchants, eateries, music and activities on the bridge, the riverfront and North Shore were hopping with a sidewalk sale, storytelling, more music and Dragon Boat races and festival.  The celebration also included a vintage scooter show at Renaissance Park.
Festivities on the bridge concluded with a fashion show and reveal of the “Ain’t so Extreme Makeover.” Attendees were wildly entertained by the Canine Makeover Reveal, when local shelter dog Tiramisu was introduced adopted.  
The bridge day rolled into night with Riverfront Nights at Ross’ Landing near the Chattanooga Pier.
Market Street Bridge opened to traffic Sunday, Aug 5 at 8 a.m., when a CARTA electric shuttle bus was the first vehicle to traverse the historic Market Street Bridge from the South Shore to the North Shore.

The bridge is owned by the State of Tennessee and was restored by Mountain States Contractors, Durham, NC.

Consulting firms included:

Parsons Transportation Group – responsible for redesigning the bridge and ensuring it’s structurally sound, as well as project manager and inspector.

KSWARE – provided a concrete technician.

Volkert – provided an inspector and office technician
July 19, 2007
Market Street Bridge expected to open early: Aug. 5, 2007

Work is progressing extremely well on the Market Street Bridge -- so well, in fact, that it’s expected to open 57 days earlier than anticipated.
The bridge is due to be completed and reopened to traffic Aug. 5 when a CARTA electric bus will be the first vehicle to drive from the south side (Aquarium side) to the north side (Frazier Ave).

In addition to the early reopening date of Aug. 5, riverfront event organizers have revealed plans for public celebrations:
  • Saturday, Aug. 4, 8:30 a.m. – Market Street Bridge Grand Re-opening ceremony and celebration – The day will be filled with activities and entertainment.  Vendors will set up on the bridge and will include restaurants, retail, health services and arts and crafts.  North Shore Merchants will host a Sidewalk Sale.  Four stages will host musicians, dance performers, magicians, clowns and story tellers.  The festivities on the bridge will include the reveal of the “Ain’t So Extreme Makeover” winner.
  • Saturday, Aug. 4, 9 a.m. – The Inaugural Chattanooga Dragon Boat Festival kicks off at Ross’s Landing and races launch all day under the newly refurbished Market Street Bridge. Dragon Boat racing dates back 2,300 years and is a sport for any generation. Ross’s Landing will host a festival of Asian cultural dance, music, exhibits, kid activities and food.
  • Saturday, Aug. 4, 7-10 p.m. – As part of the Riverfront Nights series, Julius Curcio, pop/rock singer/songwriter, will bring his full band to present a free concert on the new floating barge next to the Chattanooga Pier on the riverfront.
  • Sunday, Aug. 5, 8 a.m. – The Market Street Bridge will be open to traffic with the first vehicle to drive across the bridge being a CARTA electric bus, which will drive from the south side (Aquarium side) to the north side (Frazier Ave).

June 13, 2007
Broad Brush Strokes

Sherwin Williams has its work cut out for it when it says it “Covers the World,” but it’s also a pretty big job for painters on the Market Street Bridge.

The familiar blue hue wasn’t always its color.  As recently as 1987, the bridge was painted green.  Now all the bridges in the downtown Chattanooga area are painted the same special color of blue, which is referred to by the TDOT Structures Division as “Chattanooga Blue.”  The bridge carries North Market Street, formerly U.S. Hwy 127, and State Route 8.

In the weeks ahead lighting on the bridge will be placed after it has been painted.   

May 28, 2007
Dive! Dive! Dive!
Most of the restoration and repair work on the Market Street Bridge we’ve been able to see because it has all been above water.

Have you ever wondered what work happens underwater?  Specialized divers submerge into the murky water armed with video cameras.  They document cracks and voids in the piers, and then present the information to the bridge inspectors.  Once all the anomalies are identified, divers will make repairs by injecting polyurethane into the cracks.  For the voids, concrete will be pumped in.

These efforts help keep the bridge stable, as well as counteracting erosion.
May 18, 2007
Searching for Stories

Our marvelous treasure, the Market Street Bridge, will be opening this summer.  We’re gathering personal stories – along with the historical perspective and trivia -- our community members might have about the bridge.
And we need your help identifying some folks whose descendents worked on the bridge – or perhaps have stories or memorabilia about the construction, opening or history of Chattanooga’s very own drawbridge.
Please contact Kathie Fulgham:

Or 423-755-7588

May 2, 2007

COUNTDOWN:  Market Street Bridge Reopening

Work on the bridge is progressing at an exciting pace.  Rails, posts, parapets, concrete finishing and the setting of pylons – all are being completed.  And beneath the bridge, you might see tethered construction workers as they handle the ongoing repairs on the underside of Chattanooga’s drawbridge.
In the coming weeks we can look forward to the street lighting being installed.
But the high-water mark will be when the bascule spans are lifted and lowered in the first of a series of tests.

April 24, 2007

CLARIFICATION:  Market Street Bridge Reopening

Recent news stories have incorrectly reported that the Market Street Bridge will reopen before July 1.  Both the Tennessee Department of Transportation and Mountain States Contractors, who are directly involved with the completion of the bridge, have not confirmed a date.
While work is progressing extremely well on the project, the bridge is not due to be completed and reopened until Sept. 15, 2007. Both TDOT and the contractor would be very pleased if the project were to open early, but there is still too much work remaining on the project to accurately predict an opening date.  We do not want to mislead the public about when this might happen.
At a recent bridge briefing to Mayors Ron Littlefield and Claude Ramsey, Mountain States Contractors said that if the weather remains good and subcontractors don’t run into unexpected delays, the reopening would take place ahead of schedule.
When the reopening of the Market Street Bridge is announced, also announced will be a three-day celebration culminating in a parade across the bridge and into Coolidge Park.

Stay tuned as we get closer to the grand reopening date!

April 16, 2007
The renovation of the Market Street Bridge began Sept. 18, 2005, and the bridge is 90 years old.  (The Walnut Street Bridge is 116 years old; Olgiati Bridge is 48; Veteran’s Bridge is 23.)
The renovation includes replacement and repair of the deteriorating surface, arch spans, entire north approach, roadway, handrails, obelisks, interior columns, steel bascule span structure, motors to operate the bascule span and mechanical operating equipment.

An interesting aspect of the renovation is that riverbed is limestone bedrock, and is uneven with numerous seams and cracks filled with soft yellow clay sediment filling in the gaps.

Here’s a wrap-up of what’s gone into the bridge as of the end of March:  176,644 man hours have been spent:
    • Installing 85,011.27 Lbs of Steel Bar Reinforcement,
    • Installing 191,993.10 Lbs of Epoxy Coated Steel Bar Reinforcement
    • Installing 479,928.91 Lbs of Reinforcing Steel (Repairs),
    • Pouring 1,162.79 Cubic Yards of Class A Concrete,
    • Pouring 900.25 Cubic Yards of Class D Concrete,
    • Pouring 3,029.07 Cubic Yards of Class D Concrete (Overlay),
    • Pouring 1,489.87 Cubic Yards of Class S Concrete and
    • Placing 1,670.34 Linear Feet of Pre-stressed Concrete Box Beams
    • Conducting 4,129.08 Square Feet of Concrete Repairs and
    • Conducting 1,723.69 Cubic Feet of Concrete Repairs
Stay tuned as we get closer to the grand reopening date! April 4, 2007
Bridge expected to open early!

Members of the media boarded the Blue Moon cruise liner with Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield, Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey and 45 students from the East Ridge Construction Academy to get a boat’s-eye view of the construction and renovation progress taking place underneath the Market Street Bridge.
Afterwards, the group toured the topside of the bridge for a briefing where they learned that the bridge construction is ahead of schedule.
According to Jerry Britton of Mountain States Contractors, the bridge will reopen early provided the weather stays nice and the subcontractors’ work goes smoothly.

No one has had the unique opportunity to view work from the water.    The Blue Moon is Chattanooga’s first eco-tourism vessel and is based at the Sale Creek Marina.  It holds 100 people and has two decks.

March 28, 2007

Parapet Progress

What’s a parapet and why are they so time-intensive to reconstruct?
Parapets are used on bridges to prevent vehicles, and other users such as pedestrians and cyclists, from falling where there is a vertical drop. Bridge parapets may be made from any material, but the Market Street Bridge parapets are made of reinforced concrete.
On the Market Street Bridge the parapet is 3,232 linear feet long and goes down both sides of the bridge.  Forming the parapet is extremely time intensive because the parapet rail has “windows,” block-outs that require individual positioning because of the multiple angles and slope of the bridge.  This means that each section of the parapet must be hand-formed and varies slightly from each other section.

This handiwork increases labor work and time required.

In other news . . . The City of Chattanooga has completed its work at the corner of Frazier and North Market!  Without the orange barrels, traffic flows freely again.

March 13, 2007
Location, location, location:
Although the City of Chattanooga road construction at the corner of Frazier and North Market remains, North Shore merchants and business owners continue to do an outstanding job of driving attendance to the district destination.
Robin Derryberry, president-elect of the North Chattanooga Council of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, said in a recent Chattanooga Times Free Press article that businesses were prepared for the bridge closing by banding together for merchant events.  They’re finding creative ways to attract people to the district.
Hamilton County School District spring break March 16-25, as well as other spring breaks in the five-state region will attract locals and tourists alike.

“We can look forward to a spike in attendance in the coming weeks, as well as a banner summer tourism season,” said Derryberry. “The Market Street Bridge construction is humming along and is scheduled to open on time.”  

March 8, 2007
Orange barrels will be banished in just two short weeks:
If you drive or work near the north end of the Market Street Bridge you can’t help but notice all the activity occurring there. The old concrete is being broken up by a huge jack-hammer-like piece of equipment called a hole ram.  And an equally large machine, the track hoe, is loading up the concrete in its bucket to be carted away.
At the intersection of Frazier, North Market and Cherokee Boulevard, the City of Chattanooga is accomplishing the final pours of decorative red brick concrete.
Travelers through this intersection have only two short weeks before the barrels are removed and traffic flows freely again.

February 27, 2007

Hit the Decks!

Pouring of the concrete decks continues – the most necessary component of being able to drive across our Market Street Bridge. While this work doesn’t sound exciting on its own, the decks are described as the “canvas” on which the more artistic architectural elements will be created.  Parapets, obelisks and monuments will begin taking shape in the coming weeks.
Smooth Moves
Also happening this week is milling, the process where the old road surface is removed by machine to expose the road base prior to repaving.  Removing the deteriorated asphalt and leveling the surface will give us a smoother ride when traversing the bridge.

February 20, 2007
Evidence of the concrete repairs on the counterweights can be seen with bridge workers climbing on the steel structure and hanging in man baskets from the heights of the Market Street Bridge.  But the removal of deteriorating concrete also can be heard from the sound of hand-air hammers and chisels.  After all the new concrete is placed, the counterweights will be rebalanced prior to completing the final inspection of the bascule operations.

February 13, 2007

Rock-n-Roll Repair

You might have seen workers toiling away on the top of the huge concrete weights. Repairs on the north and south counterweights are in progress.

Market Street Bridge is a double-leaf bascule span bridge, a drawbridge with counterweights that balance the spans – or leaves – throughout the entire upward swing to provide clearance for boat traffic.

It is a rolling-lift bascule bridge, meaning the spans roll or rock to rise like a rocking chair on a track.  The two, huge concrete weights on each end of the bascule allow the bridge to open in the middle.

February 5, 2007

Riverfront Parkway Reopens!

The big news is that Riverfront Parkway is reopened to traffic a month ahead of schedule. As part of the Market Street Bridge rehabilitation project, the section underneath the south end of the bridge was closed.

“We realize Riverfront Parkway is a vital artery for downtown businesses,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “TDOT officials have been working very closely with representatives of the contractor throughout this project to ensure the roadway opened on schedule in order to minimize the impacts to area motorists and businesses. We appreciate everyone’s patience throughout this closure.”

Although the roadway will be open, the steps and walkway in the area of The Passage will continue to be closed to pedestrian traffic until the contractor completes the improvements to the rail at the south approach of the bridge.

In other news: What IS that little building on the bridge? It’s the operator house. The finishing touches are being installed, including a new roof. Because the drawbridge is so seldom raised, an operator rarely has been present in the house – even in the early 1900s.

January 30, 2007

Handrails, spindles, railings, decks and counter weights – work on the bridge is booming.  Some of the work is painstakingly detailed and some is just so immense it boggles the mind.  Here’s a wrap-up of what’s gone “into” the bridge so far:

Look at all that has happened thus far:
156,659 Man hours have been spent placing -
85,011.27 Lbs of Steel Bar Reinforcement,
191,993.10 Lbs of Epoxy Coated Steel Bar Reinforcement
320,501.83 Lbs of Reinforcing Steel (Repairs),
1,159.59 Cubic Yards of Class A Concrete,
900.25 Cubic Yards of Class D Concrete,
1,489.87 Cubic Yards of Class S Concrete and
1,670.34 Linear Feet of Prestressed Concrete Box Beams
and conducting -
2,276.86 Square Feet of Concrete Repairs and
1,114.57 Cubic Feet of Concrete Repairs

January 19, 2007

What’s the big deal about a handrail?

The bridge construction and renovation project is now at another critical phase of work- - -handrail construction.  If done correctly, they will look just like the originals, only stronger.  If done incorrectly, they won’t look like they belong, the angles won’t match and everyone traveling across the bridge will know that the plan just didn’t work.

The plans for the reconstruction of the handrail project are over 33 pages long and our work is being done in five foot increments, painstaking work at best.  But, we know that the outcome will be well worth the effort. 

As with many of our projects, the beginning of the effort begins slowly while our crew develops a working rhythm for it.  As crews complete their projects, we will be pulling them into this work to make it move faster.  Handrail work is tedious and it isn’t a bit of fun, and as you walk or drive across the Market Street Bridge in the coming months you probably won’t give it much thought.  But to us and TDOT, those handrails will be a work of art and historically, will be dead on with the originals.

See you next week!

January 12, 2007

With the warm winter we’ve been having, many folks are wondering when Riverside Drive and the Passage will reopen.  Well, we wanted to let you know that our work over the closed road and waterfront is moving along at a fast pace and we are a little ahead of the scheduled reopening. 

While Riverside Drive is closed, our crew will be doing as much work as possible so it won’t have to be re-closed.  With our work ahead of schedule, we’re hoping to have this area re-opened in time for the first group of  families to enjoy on their Spring Break vacations.

Thanks for checking in!

January 5, 2007

This week marks a significant milestone for our project- -500 safe days of work.  This is very important to any construction project, but for us, it is especially meaningful.  Each and every day, our workers are broken into individual crews with specific tasks to be completed.  Some work on repairs, while others focus on renovation or demolition. 

And, you’ve probably seen many of our workers as they work high in the air, or make their way through a tight walkway into the internal bridge structure.  Each task they undertake is given thought from a safety aspect.  No one is allowed on the site without a hard hat and other safety equipment. 

We are proud that with so many different tasks going on at any one time that these teams are working so safely.   It says a lot about the project, but even more about the crew—and we are proud of all of them.

December 29, 2006

Many of you have heard that Manufacturers Road will soon be closing for a little over a month to allow for construction of sewer infrastructure.  This will cause a “detour of a detour” for the Market Street Bridge project.  But more than that, it may cause some folks to make other shopping and dining plans in order to avoid the area.

We hope that like us, you’ll make it a point to visit Food Works and the merchants on the North Shore during this time.  It will add 2-3 minutes at the most to your commute, but will mean so much to these small businesses.

Happy New Year from the Bridge Crew!

December 22, 2006

It’s beginning to feel like the holidays on the bridge.  Our crew is working as hard as possible to get as much done before taking off a few well-deserved days to be with their families over the holidays.  We know that this time next Christmas, our work here will be done and one of Chattanooga’s most loved landmarks will once again be open for traffic to and from the North Shore.

We just want to take this opportunity to let you know how much we’re enjoying being a part of your community.  We hope that we’ve been helpful to the merchants as well as to the various groups who plan special events and activities in and around the Coolidge Park area.

We hope that the holidays will be a special time for you and your family.  And while we look forward to a New Year, we all look forward to the re-opening of the Market Street Bridge!

December 15, 2006

From time to time, we like to update you about how much time and materials go into a project like the renovation of the Market Street Bridge.  Sometimes it’s interesting to know just “how big” a project really is.

So here goes:  By the end of last month, our crew spent 139,400 hours on the bridge.

85,011.27 pounds of Steel Bar Reinforcement
191,933.10 pounds of Epoxy Coated steel Bar Reinforcement
216,556.259 pounds of Reinforcing Steel
1,143.176 Yards of Class A Concrete958 Cubic Yards of Class D Concrete
1,489.87 Cubic Yards of Class S Concrete
1,138.498 Yards of Class D Concrete (Overlay)
Were all put onto the bridge for renovation and repairs.

Our crew also conducted:
946.767 Square Feet of Concrete Repairs
1,105.335 Cubic Feet of Concrete Repairs
70.434 Gallons of Epoxy Injection and,
566 Linear Feet of Epoxy Crack Repairs.

But we know what you really want to know:  Yes.  We’re still on schedule!

December  8, 2006

As you know, we’ve been encouraging folks to shop the North Shore for a long time.  But, we hope you’ll come across the river to the South Shore as well.  There are all kinds of things to see and do when you enter the First Street/ Arts District.

And to get your attention, a group of very talented student artists have now completed a beautiful mural whose theme is, “Bridging the Gap Through Art”.  The 10x17 foot mural was unveiled today and is the newest piece of “public art” for our city.

Thanks to the generosity of the North Chattanooga Council, the Chattanooga Department of  Arts, Education and Culture, and the Hunter Museum of American Art, muralist Shaun LaRose led this talented group of students in designing and implementing this impressive mural. 

Our city is fortunate to have a muralist like Shaun to guide these efforts and we think you’ll agree that it is worth taking some time to enjoy as you make your way to Canvas Canoe, Mug and Bean or any of the other great places on Chattanooga’s  southern shore.

Take a look at our artists at work in the photo section and if you see them out and about, congratulate them on a job well done! 

Oh, and one more thing- -hats off to our bridge crew for hanging this monster on the coldest and windiest day of the year!  Artists are often dedicated to their craft, but on this particular effort, there was dedication on every aspect of this effort.

That ’s all for now.  See you next week from the bridge!

December 1, 2006

Wow! It can’t be the holidays already!  Today, many Chattanoogans will be coming to the North Shore to enjoy the latest of our city’s traditions- -“First Friday”.  The In-Town Gallery will have an opening and the Association for Visual Arts will introduce all of us to “Eye Candy”, their holiday exhibition.

What began as a test has now become an event many look forward to from month to month.  Patrons to the North Shore can start their weekends with a visit to see the latest artistic offerings and then stroll down Frazier to have dinner at one of the area’s fine restaurants.

Afterwards, who wouldn’t want to take in a performance at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre and enjoy the latest musical, drama or comedy?  The North Shore is a great place for a family outing or a date night with someone special, and before calling it an evening, you may want to stop for a hot latte before going home.

Anything you need or want can all be found in one place- -the North Shore.   And access couldn’t be easier, providing the visitor with the  ability to move safely and quickly without the headaches of a traffic jam or long waits for food.  So, we hope you’ll join us in doing all of your holiday shopping on the North Shore.

November 24, 2006

If you look up at the bridge these days, you’ll see that our renovation work is moving forward at a pretty fast pace.  The steel parts of the bridge have been repainted a bright blue and the bridge itself is looking better everyday.

If you take a closer look, you’ll see the counterweights are in great shape and provide a white billboard size area on either side of the structure.  When the bridge first opened, painters climbed to the top of both sides and painted advertisements for commuters to see as they made their way to and from town.

Over the years, companies like Coca-Cola, Haverty’s Furniture and others advertised everything from soft drinks to washers and dryers from the counterweights.  Several years ago, the decision was made to stop the practice and the counterweights were left blank.

As we continue to work toward completion, we would like to know what YOU would like to see on the counterweights.  Would you like to see them remain blank, would you like to see the Market Street Bridge once again advertise a Chattanooga product, or maybe you’d like to see the bridge pay homage to Chief John Ross for whom the structure is named.

If you have an idea or opinion, let us know.  We’d enjoy hearing from you!

Thanks for checking in with us!

November 17, 2006

As taxpayers, we’re all aware of how much we pay to make sure our country stays fiscally strong.  Our tax dollars pay for everything from public schools to sewerage infrastructure and conservation efforts within our national forests.  With all of the needs we have from the local to national levels, it’s easy to see how much each dollar means.

The Market Street Bridge is owned by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and each year, they must prioritize which projects to fund.  In many instances it is a very difficult choice for them.  In Hamilton County alone, there are 20 structurally deficient bridges requiring some form of repair and renovation.

Each of these potential projects requires many months and sometimes years of planning and design work before being implemented. 

With so much of our local, state and federal infrastructure aging, it’s important for all of us to see the difference our tax dollars make in keeping our economy rolling.  We’re pleased to be able to do bridge work and take a lot of pride in it.  But along these same lines, we’re also glad that some folks from the city, county, state and federal governments are taking a hard look at our future needs- -each and every day.

November 10, 2006

We often talk about the teamwork provided by the bridge crew.  But this week, we wanted to take our hard hats off in a salute to the combo of the North Chattanooga Council and the North Shore Merchants’ Collective.

With the coming of additional development to the North Shore, utility infrastructure placement will require Manufacturer’s Road to close for several weeks, making access onto Cherokee Boulevard and Frazier Avenue tricky.

The plans called for road closure to occur between now and the first of the year- -holiday shopping season.  When word about the proposed closure occurred, the North Chattanooga Council and the newly formed North Shore Merchants’ Collective came together to ask officials to reschedule the work until after January 1. 

They knew what the closure of Manufacturer’s Road would do to the holiday shopping season and wanted to make sure others did as well.  Together, their appeals were heard and the road will remain open during this busy season. 

We hope you ’ll do your holiday shopping on the North Shore and let the merchants along the way know how much you appreciate their efforts.  And remember as you consider where to do your shopping that, “Ain’t Nothin’ Closed but the Bridge”—the North Shore is easy to get around in during this busy time of year!

November 3, 2006

“Is the bridge going to open early?”  It’s a question we’re asked a lot these days.  We couldn’t be more pleased with the progress this project has made and of the crew making it happen.  Everyone works together as a team and together, we’re making fast work out of this renovation project.

That’s the good news.  If you take a look at the frames for the handrails, you’ll see that they are very intricate in design.  And that could be the bad news.  With over thirty pages of architectural drawings providing direction on handrail renovation, we know that the work ahead of us will be painstaking and difficult. 

We are gearing up for this next piece of significant work for the bridge.  If done correctly, it will look just like the original structure.  If we miss one detail, everyone will be able to tell.  So, as with every step of the project, we are paying attention to make sure it is done correctly.

So the answer to the question, “Is the bridge going to open early?”, is difficult to answer.  We’ve been ahead of our work plans so far, and hope that as we complete the handrails, we will continue to stay on task and ahead of schedule.

October 27, 2006

We thought we were probably the only folks around who could see the art in a structure like the Market Street Bridge.  But, when we were approached to allow one of Chattanooga’s artists on the bridge to develop art based on the Market Street Bridge, our answer was a resounding, “YES!”

Everyday, Daud Akhriev would come to the bridge, don a hardhat and go to work.  Over a few weeks, we began to see many of the same colors from our work appearing in his.  We saw how he captured the geometric shapes of our project and turned them into art.  When we were invited to come to Daud’s gallery in the Southside to look at his work, we were blown away.

It’s humbling to see your work place turned into a piece of art.  We’ve enjoyed having Daud with us, and hope all of you will take a look at his art at the annual art harvest this weekend.  The artists on the Southside are opening their doors to share the works they’ve been creating over the past few months.  It’s a great time to see what they’ve “harvested” and for us, it’s great to know that others see the artistic beauty of the Market Street Bridge.

October 13, 2006

Last Friday we joined many other folks in participating in “First Friday” on the North Shore.  With a new exhibit at AVA as well as an opening at In-Town Gallery, the North Shore had plenty to offer.  We were pleased to see so many folks stopping by to shop after having dinner at one of the many restaurants in the area.

This is a great way to ease into your holiday shopping and we hope you’ll join us in patronizing these businesses. Shops are open the first Friday of each month until 8:00 p.m..  Why not take your special someone out for dinner and a stroll on the North Shore? 

October 6, 2006

Everyone knows that the Market Street Bridge has been a construction site of late; however, in the last few weeks it has also served as the subject for artists and now, as a learning laboratory for the East Ridge High School Construction Academy.

We were delighted to have the students join us for a visit around the construction site.  With safety equipment in check for each student, we took the class around the area and explained some of the intricacies of the work being done.  The student’s questions were insightful and showed the high level of training they are receiving from their teachers.

The East Ridge Construction Academy allows students to take their skills and put them into real life practices.  We’re looking forward to seeing many of these fine folks enter the work place in a few years and some of us may even be working for a few of them!

We’d like to thank Mac McCarley from QORE Engineering and Roger Tudor from Associated General Contractors for making this field trip possible.  We were honored to show the students around and look forward to seeing the difference they will make to our community in the future.

September 29, 2006

We thought you’d enjoy seeing the completed bridge tender’s house as well as some of the other details that are now complete and ready to go back into action.  This work has been extremely tedious, but well worth the amount of time invested in it. 

It’s been difficult to re-tool and in some instances, replace some of the machinery required to move the counterweights which will allow taller vessels to move through the bridge.  But the work has been done and seeing the finished product makes all of us pretty proud.

We hope you’ll agree with us.

See you next week!

September 22, 2006

Chattanooga is fortunate to provide a home to so many artists.  One of our favorites is Daud Akhriev.  He has been spending a great deal of time near the construction site developing various pieces of art reflecting the work done on the bridge.

Daud’s focus is on the people and the structure of the bridge, and we’re pleased to be the subjects of some of his work.  We hope that once his projects are complete, you’ll visit his studio to take a look at some of his efforts.

And, we also want to make you aware of another artistic development around the Market Street Bridge:  a mural for the fencing on the southern approach of the bridge.  We heard from some of the merchants on the southern approach that as travelers would near the bridge, they would see the “road closed” signs and turn left by TGI Friday’s and not explore the wonderful Art District.

With this in mind, some of our folks approached the Hunter Museum of American Art to see if they could help us remedy the situation.  Their answer:  use student artists to develop a mural to bring folks in for a closer look.  The theme of the mural is “Public Art in Chattanooga” and should be ready in time for the upcoming holidays.

So, for some folks, we’re subjects of art and for others, the bridge serves as a gallery of sorts.  We’re just pleased to continue to be a part of a very special part of Chattanooga.

September 15, 2006

We’re proud to show you the work on the center part of the bridge.  From the photos, you’ll see that all of the renovations are complete, as is the newly painted ironworks of the bridge.  In addition, you’ll see what a difference the expanded sidewalks will make to folks who now will have another avenue across the river.

We’re almost finished with this section and thought you’d enjoy taking a look at it from our vantage point.

We’ll see you next week!

September 8, 2006

As you can see from the enclosed photos, our work on the southern approach is moving pretty rapidly, but if you live near the work site, probably not fast enough.  Our crews are working every other weekend to continue to move the project along, and you may be awakened to some pretty loud construction demolition over the next few days.

We hope you’ll bear with us and understand that these things are part of the process of bridge renovation.  The demolition piece of the project will soon come to an end  and you can look forward to sleeping in on the weekend. 

We’re sorry for the noise, but hope you’ll enjoy the end result- -a bridge that is better and stronger than ever.

September 1, 2006

As we mark the end of summer, our crew is moving to the southern approach of the bridge.  This portion of the work plan will require the closure of Riverfront Parkway from Chestnut Street to Lookout Street from Labor Day until shortly after the first of the year. 

It will also require the closure of the Passage- -but only for about six to eight weeks to allow our crew to work on removal of spandrel walls.  We’ve enclosed a few shots of the spandrel walls to show you the thickness of walls and to give you an idea of the enormity of this project.

We’ll see you from the bridge!

August 25, 2006

We thought you’d find it interesting to have a bit of an update on the work we’ve completed through the end of July.  So, here are some “fun facts” about the project:

  1. 94,237 man hours have been worked on the project;
  2. 85,011.27 pounds of steel bar reinforcement has been placed;
  3. 191,998 pounds of epoxy coated steel bar reinforcement is in place;
  4. 51,927.14 pounds of reinforcing steel is in place for repairs;
  5. 913.19 cubic yards of Class A Concrete has been poured;
  6. 733.06 cubic yards of Class D concrete has been poured; and,
  7. 1,489.87 cubic yards of Class S concrete has been poured; and 1,670.34 linear feet of pre-stressed concrete box beams are in place.

In addition, we’ve conducted 853,43 square feet of concrete repairs and 1,105.34 cubic feet of concrete repairs.

But we know what you really want to know:  Yes.  Still on time.

August 18, 2006

We’re looking forward to the completion of our first year on this project and thought you might want to know about some of the significant milestones we’ve reached. 

During the first month of the project, the crew removed between 13-14” of concrete and asphalt from the bridge deck.  Over 1100 tons of concrete and infrastructure was removed as well as over 100 tons of rebar. 

When we began our efforts, we had 14 crew members on the project. Today, we have over 50 members of the crew who work on, in, around and in the waters surrounding the Market Street Bridge.

But one of the most important things we’ve done as a team is to provide support to all of the activities going on in the area.  We know that if the bridge closure is considered, “no big deal” by the businesses in the area, we must be doing something right.

So, over the first year of this project, we’ve supported and assisted with the following activities and events:
Ain’t Nothin’ Closed but the Bridge Parade and Festival, Curbside Service, Run Forrest Run Relay Race, Riverbend, The Kiwanis Great Duck Race, Pops on the River, The Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon, Between the Bridges Festival, Swing Fest, and Culture Fest.

It’s been a very busy first year and we’re looking forward to this time next year to see how close we are to completion of this historical project.

See you from the bridge!

August 11, 2006

WOW.  That’s all we can say.  The annual “Between the Bridges” Festival is this weekend on the Tennessee River between the Market Street and Olgiatti Bridges.  Athletes from around the region are here for this extreme wakeboard competition.

Not only is the competition intense, but the entertainment is also going to be pretty awesome over the weekend.  We’ve seen athletes go airborne as they twist and roll through their moves.  It’s a pretty fascinating sport and we hope you’ll come on down and enjoy the show.

August 4, 2006

Over the course of the past few months, we’ve had many requests from event organizers to make sure that they have access into Coolidge Park or in some instances, that our barges are moved to allow for access to the Tennessee River.  We are pleased to help whenever we can with these requests. 

However, it’s important to know that our work planned out weeks and sometimes months in advance.  And, in most instances, our plans have to be reviewed and approved by regulatory and governmental agencies.

Like you, we enjoy all this city has to offer around the waterfront and have had a great time watching so many of the events from our vantage point on the bridge.  If you have an upcoming event or activity which will require us to move some of our equipment or allow for additional access to the construction site, please don’t hesitate to give Robin Derryberry a call at 423.755.7588 or through e-mail at:  She will be glad to help with your request.

July 28, 2006

You’ve probably heard about the parking plan being implemented on the North Shore.  This will make accessibility to all of the great shops and restaurants a bit easier for visitors to the area.  But, you may not have heard about the safety cameras being installed in the Chattanooga Theatre District and in Coolidge Park.

With all of the activity on the North Shore, the area was seeing more and more folks staying late into the evening to enjoy a stroll after dinner or to watch the sun set on the Tennessee River.  The installation of the cameras will provide an even higher level of security for visitors to the area.  We hope you will take advantage of a place which not only is one of Chattanooga’s neatest places, but also one of its’ most safe and secure.

We’ll see you next week from the bridge!

July 21, 2006

Our crew has spent the past few days pouring concrete over the nearly completed northern approach.  That’s right—our work from the north shore to the middle of the bridge is almost complete, and we’ll soon be crossing over to begin work from the southern approach.  We thought you’d enjoy some unique shots from our construction project. 

You’ll see efforts beginning on the southern approach in the coming days; however, we won’t be doing anything to deter our out of town guests as they enjoy the rest of the summer months.  We will be closing the Passage in the not-too-distant future; however, we’re timing our work so that most of the closures will occur after Labor Day.  We’re also hoping to have the work done well before the next tourism season begins.

Thanks for checking in with us!

July 14, 2006

We know you’ll want to join us this weekend as we see some of the fittest athletes from around the region compete in the second annual Waterfront Triathlon.  This event is presented by Outdoor Chattanooga and challenges athletes to a 1.5 swim, 40k bike ride and 10k run. 

The race course will take swimmers down stream right under the bridge by our barges, by the fountains and out of the water near River Pier Landing.  This event provides just another way for individuals to “come out and play”.  We hope you’ll stop by and support their efforts.

We wish all the athletes the best and are pleased that we were able to work through some logistical challenges to make sure the event course is easily accessible.  This is another special event which required teamwork and communication to ensure its success.  We are pleased to help and even more pleased to be watching the race and not actually participating!  GOOD LUCK!

If you have an event which is normally scheduled for the area near the Market Street Bridge and are concerned about accessibility or logistics, please give Robin Derryberry a call at:  423.755.7588.  She will be glad to work with you to answer any question you have and make sure we do everything possible to keep your event where it has traditionally taken place.  We love special events, but we love working with the folks who produce them even more.  So, give us a call!

July 6, 2006

Wow what a concert!  We hope that like us, you took the opportunity to enjoy this year’s “Pops on the River” in Coolidge Park.  The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera is one of this community’s most treasured assets, and we hope you enjoyed the concert as much as we did.

Pulling off an event like this requires a huge amount of teamwork and we were glad to be a part of the effort.  We were contacted by our friends at the Downtown Partnership several weeks ago to make sure that there would be access to the stage area for the musicians and that there would be electricity and water available on site.  In addition, we worked with the crew producing the fireworks extravaganza to make sure they had the access they needed on site.

This was no easy feat.  Because we always put safety first, we had to make sure that we knew who was coming onto the construction site and what kind of access they would need.  We appreciate the Chattanooga Police Department for providing officers to work through some of the access challenges and are also grateful for the manner in which the crews worked with us to address logistic issues.

But more than any of that, we are very pleased that this year’s event stayed right where it belongs- -on the North Shore.  We hope you enjoyed the evening and look forward to sharing next year’s event with you as well.

June 30, 2006

This week marks a significant milestone for our project - 300 safe days on the job!  When you consider the amount of work being done, the number of workers on the job and all of the details that make this project so unique, this is quiet an accomplishment.  From the divers working underwater to the crew making repairs high above ground, this project has been blessed with individuals who are extremely professional and conscientious. 

Hopefully, when you look up the bridge, you notice the northern approach taking shape.  We are very pleased with the progress being made and look forward to pouring concrete in the coming days.  Then it will be time to begin the heavy lifting on the southern approach.

Thanks for checking in!

June 23, 2006

The Downtown Kiwanis Club is one of Chattanooga’s oldest civic organizations.  They do so much for so many organizations throughout the area, so when they asked us to help them with their annual Great Duck Race, we just couldn’t refuse.  The race is one of the few sanctioned events by the Tennessee Lottery Commission which allows non-profits to raise funds by chance.  In this case the person who purchased the number of the duck finishing the race to River Pier Landing, won $3,000!

On Saturday, one of our guys used some of our heavy equipment to drop 5000 rubber ducks into the Tennessee River.  Once in the water, the Great Race was on!  We placed booms in the water to assist in keeping the ducks out of the main channel and directed toward the finish line.

But, as you’ll see from the photos, those ducks have minds of their own!  Due to some significant shifts in wind, the ducks missed the boom, but still made it to the finish line.

And one of our crew was overheard saying that his duck was probably headed to Nickajack.  Oh well, it was all for a good cause and the Kiwanis will be helping the Boys and Girls Club with the money raised from this annual event.

Hope you can join us next year for the Great Duck Race!  But more importantly, we hope you’ll join us in congratulating the Downtown Kiwanis Club for a job well done!

June 16, 2006

If you’ve ever walked on the sidewalks of the Market Street Bridge, you know how narrow they are.  Well, we thought you might like to see the work being done to the sidewalks right now.  You’re probably saying, “What sidewalks?”

We are tearing down the existing sidewalks and replacing them with wider more pedestrian friendly ones.  By the time our work is completed, you will not only feel safe in crossing over the river by using the Walnut Street Bridge, you’ll also feel safe in using the Market Street Bridge. 

This will put you much closer to Renaissance Park as well as some of our new businesses which have just opened on the North Shore.

We’re also pumping water out of the cofferdam at Pier 2 this week.  This will allow us to begin injecting epoxy into the pier.  And, we have even more good news:  our team is projecting that the bridge deck will be ready to pour by the end of June if our project remains on schedule. 

We continue to enjoy good weather and good working conditions- - -both contributing factors to our project’s success.

That ’s all for this week.  Thanks for checking in with us!

June 9, 2006

How do you prepare a major construction site for Chattanooga’s biggest party of the year?  That’s the question our team had to answer in preparation for this year’s Riverbend Festival. 

With work progressing in the Tennessee River as well as overhead on the bridge, our team has been hard at work to make sure we’re ready for the thousands of festival visitors who will soon be coming within a short distance of our work site.

We know that many folks will be coming to enjoy the festival by water, so we’ve taken precautions to make sure our barges are well-lit and positioned out of the way of traffic.  We’ve also made sure that none of our work we close down any of Riverfront Parkway during the festival.

So, bring your family and come on down to Chattanooga’s unofficial family reunion.  We look forward to seeing you from the bridge!

June 2, 2006

Kudos to the North Shore merchants!  We recently heard that the merchants have decided to host “First Fridays”.  On the first Friday of each month, you’ll find shops and restaurants that normally close around six, open until eight o’clock to allow you to spend some additional time exploring all the North Shore has to offer.

So, we’d like to take this time to encourage you to enjoy the extended hours being offered by the merchants in the area.  We hope they have great success with it and that the numbers of folks shopping after traditional hours will encourage them to grow “First Friday” into EVERY Friday!

We’ll see you from the Bridge!

May 26, 2006

The 2006 Great Kiwanis Duck Race!

The Kiwanis Club is a group committed to doing great things in the community, and when they asked us to be a partner with them in the Great Duck Race, we couldn’t refuse!  On Saturday, June 17, you’ll see a bunch of bright yellow rubber ducks being dropped from the Market Street Bridge into the Tennessee River.

But these aren’t ordinary ducks.  The flock of 5000, will coincide with tickets and the first duck to make it to the Pier Landing, just down river, will win $3,000 for his owner.  Second place will win $1,500 and third prize will win $500.  The winner doesn’t have to be present to win, but it sure would make the last night of Riverbend special knowing your duck was a winner! 

Proceeds from the Great Duck Race will go to the YMCA Sunshine Project and the Kiwanis Youth Foundation.  Both are local programs benefiting local children. 

The Sunshine Project includes a year-round therapeutic aquatic program, an affordable summer day camp and exercise classes for children with special needs.  The families of these children are also included in other special activities.  The goal of the project is to provide for special needs children the same developmental opportunities that other children enjoy and to bring them in the mainstream of YMCA children’s programs.

The Kiwanis Youth Foundation raises funds that are awarded to local organizations benefiting our youth.  Some of the organizations assisted by these funds are:  Boys & Girls Club, Camp Kiwanis, Victim-offender Reconciliation Program, Bethel Bible Village, Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, Circle K, Chambliss Home, Key Club, Girls Scouts, First Things First, Orange Grove, Ronald McDonald House, YMCA, Why kNOw, Boy Scouts, Girls Inc., Partnership for Families, Children & Adults, Kids on the Block, Room at the Inn, Signal Centers, Siskin Foundation, Cranio-Facial Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, First Steps/Safe Kids, Scenic Land Schools, STARS, Teen Challenge, and Weekend Academy.

Tickets are available at the Downtown YMCA or at Steve and Bo Ray’s Neighborhood AAA Center in Ooltewah.  Tickets cost $5.00 each and event t-shirts will be given to those adopting more than five ducks.

We hope you ’ll join us for the last night of Riverbend.  And remember, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and floats like a duck- -it may just be a winner!!

May 19, 2006

There are many things that make Coolidge Park very special.  Over the past six months, we’ve noticed how many people enjoy the park.  Whether looking for a quiet place by the water to read a good book or bringing grandchildren to the Carousel, Coolidge Park is a great place to spend time relaxing.  But it’s more than that.  This park offers another outstanding “Chattanooga experience” for guests. 

With the warmer months upon us, the park is used by thousands of folks everyday.  Many stay well into the evening to enjoy dinner and the city lights across the river.  Others come for special events and activities. Because of this, the Chattanooga Police Department has stepped up their efforts to make sure that Coolidge Park is a safe place- -no matter when you visit.

The Chattanooga Police Department is to be thanked for this effort.  Coolidge Park belongs to all of us and we look forward to a summer filled with families enjoying picnics, couples strolling by the water’s edge, and a bridge project that continues to stay on time and on budget.

Thanks for checking in!

May 12, 2006

This week, our team continued to set beams on the northern approach and continued with our work underwater.  The old shaft which provides the mechanism to raise and lower the bridge was bent and in poor condition, so our team is doing what we’ve had to do more and more of- - remake the equipment so it looks like the original but is much stronger and ready to stand another 90 years of wear and tear. 

We’re pleased to tell you that we are receiving the products we need to make sure we stay on task and on time.  Our vendors have had many challenges to be sure, but they remain committed to making sure we have what we need.

We’ll see you next week!

May 5, 2006

We’ve enjoyed watching folks as they enjoy picnics in Coolidge Park or a Spring walk along the Walnut Street Bridge. It’s great to see everything that is happening around the area.

Over the coming warm months, we hope you’ll take time to enjoy lunch with business associates at one of the restaurants in the area or stop by one of the many fine salons and shops. There’s something for everyone on the North Shore.

As a matter of fact, the area takes on a different attitude as the sun begins to set. A great vantage point is at the Stone Cup where you can enjoy a cup of gourmet coffee and look at the beautiful Hunter Museum of Art across the Tennessee River. Or, you could find your way over to the River Street Deli for an authentic muffaletta that you can take with you for a make-shift picnic in the park.

This area has so much to offer and we hope you’ll enjoy spending time (and money) with the area merchants.

We’ll see you next week. Thanks for checking in.

April 28, 2006

Welcome to the beginning of Summer on the North Shore! With the days getting longer, our crew has the ability to stay on the site a little longer each day. Recently, we had some questions posed to us about the design and renovation of the bridge.

The questions had to do with the replacement of the obelisks back on the structure. Because of the historical significance of the bridge, we are required to repair, renovate and replace everything so it appears to be in its original state. In fact, you’ll even see our crew “stain” the structure after the construction is complete so it will match the original.

We hope this answers your question and hope you know that the design requirements for this project are governed by the historic designation given to the bridge.

April 14, 2006 - - - A Six Month Milestone

Last week our crew celebrated the completion of the first six months of the Market Street Bridge renovation. We are proud of the work we’ve done and remain committed to both the timeline for completion as well as to the detail an historical project like this deserves.

As mentioned earlier, we’ve had to think creatively in finding products such as copper wiring or wood sheeting. When we submitted our bid on the project, we did so with many of these costs locked in—which means that even though they may be hard to come by at this time, the costs have remained the same, which saves taxpayer dollars.

We’ve also found some equally creative ways to keep the project moving forward as we wait on our construction products to arrive. You will see some work beginning on the southern approach to the bridge in the coming days. This is the same type of work we started with on the opposite end last Fall. But don’t worry- - the work won’t keep you from The Passage or from enjoying any activities on the new Waterfront.

March 17, 2006

As discussed last week, we’ve refocused our efforts in areas that can keep this project on track while we’re waiting for construction items to arrive on site.  Because of the repetition of work in various phases, our crew has gotten much faster and more confident with their responsibilities.  In fact, the facia work on Span 7 remains on schedule as well as removal of the existing facia on Span 5.  And, we are pleased to report that the column and beam repairs for the North Shore Approach should be completed in the next few weeks.

You’ve probably also noticed a lot of activity on the water.  Our divers have been evaluating the footing on the existing bridge and are hard at work to determine what repairs will be necessary for this phase of work. 

And even with some of the challenges we’ve been facing, we still remain on schedule and look forward to the bridge opening on time in the fall of 2007.

Our first six month milestone is fast approaching and you’ll be hearing a lot about the work we’ve been doing and our work plan for the next six months.  Until then, thanks for checking in with us!

March 10, 2006

Sometimes you just hit a snag.  It’s something that you can’t control and something you just have to exercise patience to get through.  That’s what has happened with a portion of our work. 

When Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, government agencies like FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers went into high gear to make repairs to the levee system before this year’s hurricane season begins in June. 

What does this have to do with our project?  Plenty.  With demand very high for certain construction products, the cost of items like sheet piling have gone up by a third and some by two-thirds.  But, the impact is more than a cost issue.  The real issue is demand.  Some of these same products which would take a week to obtain in normal circumstances are now on back order for eight to ten weeks.  Mills that were working on some of the steel components we need have now set our work aside to focus on requested items for levee repair in New Orleans.

This turn of events has led our team to refocus on areas of work that can keep the project moving in a timely manner while we’re waiting for items we need.  We have some catching up to do.  But, we have the right team in place to do it.  And when we think about the significant needs of the folks down on the Gulf Coast, we completely understand.  We’re very blessed here in Chattanooga.

March 3, 2006

“How do you keep a business district not only surviving but thriving during a major construction project like the MarketStreetBridge?”  That’s a question that is constantly being asked among the merchants and North Chattanooga Council members. 

Each month, the Council gives an update to their members about our project.  We believe that it is important to provide accurate information in a timely manner to keep folks involved in the progress we are making.  However, we also utilize our relationship with the Council to hear concerns and address them as soon as possible.

We’ve been making steady progress with our project over the past five months.  However, our project is not the only construction project on the North Shore.  The Electric Power Board has been working on a major utility project which has closed down a portion of River Street. 

We know that projects like this never come at a good time and that it sometimes makes getting to some of the district’s businesses less than easy. But we also know that the North Shore has become a destination for shoppers and diners.  What better place is there to enjoy a sunny afternoon on a deck overlooking the river while you enjoy a hot cup of gourmet coffee or a bowl of seafood bisque?   There isn’t one. 

The North Shore is Chattanooga’s most eclectic neighborhood and well worth a bit of trouble to visit.  Can’t find a parking spot?  Try walking across the Walnut Street Bridge.  On one of our upcoming Spring days, you’ll work up an appetite and enjoy a spectacular view as you come across the bridge into the North Shore. 

And in just a few short weeks, there will be new parking opportunities for the North Shore and the parking headaches you may be experiencing now should be nothing but a very distant memory.  We encourage you to continue to visit the merchants during this time.  They need our business and we want to see them thrive.

February 25, 2006

“Run Forrest Run” Huge Success

The Chattanooga Track Club partnered with the North Chattanooga Council of the Chamber of Commerce to sponsor the first annual “Run Forrest Run” relay race on Saturday, February 25.  Thirty  three-member teams showed up to race from the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, up Forrest Avenue, down to North Market Street and back down Frazier Avenue to complete the 2.3 mile course.

This is the third aspect of the North Chattanooga Council’s marketing plan to encourage folks to continue to visit the North Shore during the Market Street Bridge construction project.  Council President Linda Todd said, “We were delighted to partner with the Chattanooga Track Club for this outstanding event.  The merchants gladly filled goodie bags that were second-to-none and we hope the runners will spread the news to their friends so that next year’s event will be even bigger!”

Race Director Joey Howe said, “We had a great time working with the North Chattanooga Council folks.  Their volunteers were terrific, the merchants provided some great items for the runners and the entire event was a huge success.”

Among the merchants and organizations sponsoring the race were:  A Novel Idea, Allied Arts, AVA, BlueCross-Blue Shield, Clumpies, Curves-North Shore, Derryberry Public Relations, Fast Break Athletics, First Tennessee, Fitness Together, Frankie & Julian’s, Grand Slam Jewelry, Island Ink Jet, Memorial North Health Center, North Shore Auto Repair, Nuts ‘N’ Such, Southern Coffee, Suck Creek Cycles, SunTrust, Tin Roof Bistro, WGOW and Wilkins-Crews & Associates.

February 17th, 2006

From time to time, we’ve encouraged folks to make an extra effort to visit the merchants on the NorthShore. We were pleased to hear from so many folks that they did their holiday shopping there and even more pleased to hear from the merchants that their sales seemed to be a bit higher than last year.

However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t encourage you to also visit the merchants on the southern approach to the bridge. If you are sitting at the southern most traffic light on Market Street, you will see the “Road Closed” signs posted and probably think there’s no reason to go further. But you’re missing out on a great experience if you do.

Past the traffic signal you’ll see Fudgewright’s to your right and on the corner you’ll find Canvas Canoe & Clothing, one of the best places around to find Chattanooga gear. At Fudgewright’s you will find some of the largest chocolate dipped fresh strawberries around and after you purchase some fudge, you should come right on down the block and head up First Street.

Chattanooga has a host of everchanging art on exhibit as you climb the hill. Take your time to observe the art around you and head over to the Art District by taking the Holmberg Bridge. From that vantage point you’ll be able to take a closer look at the work we’re doing as well as the work being done on Chattanooga’s downtown neighborhood.

There isn’t a better place to spend an afternoon then at the Hunter Museum of American Art. A long time favorite of area visitors, the Hunter offers something for every member of the family. And, after spending some time at the Hunter, you’ll want to see what other experiences are available in the Art District. From specialty coffees at Rembrandt’s to gourmet dining at the Back Inn Café, you’ll enjoy seeing the art and maybe picking up a special purchase from one of the featured artisans in the district.

Then, it’s time to enjoy a quiet sunset on your way back down First Street. We hope you’ll continue to visit the merchants on the NorthShore, but we also hope that you’ll make an extra effort to spend time with the merchants on the southern approach as well. It’s a very special place and one we think you’ll enjoy.

That’s all for now. Thanks for checking in with us.

February 10th, 2006

Our electrical and mechanical crews are spending a great deal of time rebuilding the gears for the overhead bascule.  As you can imagine, years of use have taken their toil on the machinery used to raise and lower the bascules making it easy for water traffic to navigate the Tennessee River.  Our crews are rebuilding the worn gears and assessing the wear on the bearings.  Because of the age and condition of the machinery, replacement pieces are cast from the originals and take a considerable amount of time to craft.  But, once completed, these pieces will be put into use for a long time to come.

We’re also busy in the water right now- -and yes, we know it is February!  Our team is busy with wet excavation around the cofferdam which will allow us to work under water and assess the condition of the piers.  This requires a special level of expertise and we’re very proud of the work being done in this area.

Thanks for checking in with us!

January 27, 2006

You’ve probably seen many of our crew members working high above the bridge this week.  They are checking each piece of steel to determine its integrity. Some pieces will be repaired while others will be totally replaced.  After the work is done, the whole blue section will be given fresh paint.

Some of you have asked about the work in the river.  From this week’s photos, you’ll notice that we’ve installed cofferdams which allow our crew to dewater the supports in the river and check out their condition.  We’ve also been busy pouring caps this week.  The new caps will support the renovated bridge.  You’ll be seeing plenty of these being poured over the coming weeks. 

Our folks are also building forms to replace the fascia on the arches.  As you may remember, we had to remove the fascia so our team could go inside the bridge to check its’ condition.  The new pieces will look exactly like the ones they are replacing—only stronger and ready to support present and future traffic.

We have a little over 50 crew members working each day on the project.  Each member brings his own level of expertise to the work and makes for great working relationships.

January 20, 2006

As you’ve probably noticed, there are several barges in the water right now. Our team is utilizing cofferdams to work in the Tennessee River. Cofferdams are designed for construction worksite dewatering. They are industrial-grade plastic inflatable dams that will allow our team to dewater the supports of the Market Street Bridge for inspection and renovation. Temporary cofferdams are inflated by water and are considered an economical, effective and safe alternative to conventional dam methods such as sandbags or mechanical barriers.

It will be interesting to see what we find once we’re in the water. This type of work requires a special expertise, so we’ve added those folks to our 50+ member daily team. And while it’s January, we’re thankful that the weather has been mild. Cold weather doesn’t make our work go slower, but it sure is nice when the sun is out and the temps are above 40 degrees!

Thanks for checking in on our progress!

January 13, 2006

We wanted to make you aware of the first fun event of 2006 for the NorthShore! On Saturday, February 25, the North Chattanooga Council will partner with the Chattanooga Track Club to present a relay race. The race path will take runners from the Chattanooga Theatre Centre up steep Forest Avenue, down Sylvan to North Market and down River Street before ending at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. Three runners on each team will complete the 2.3 mile loop.

We’re looking forward to watching the activities from the bridge and hope you’ll come out on February 25 for the first annual, “Run Forest Run!” And yes, the winners will receive a box of chocolates.

For more information, you can check out the event by going to: We’ll be there to support the folks on the NorthShore and hope you will as well.

January 6, 2006

After 90 years of service, you can imagine the impacts that weather, pollution and daily usage have had on the Market Street Bridge. It’s because of these impacts that you’ve probably seen more of the bridge coming down than being renovated, but it’s all part of the work that will lead to a bridge that will service travelers for the next 90 years.

Our crew has been busy this week with the installation of steel plates on the side of the bridge which will reinforce and brace the structure and allow us to continue our work. As with any renovation project, as layers are peeled away discoveries are made that point to the condition of the structure. The plates and bolts are manually installed which is time consuming, but part of the overall renovation plan.

Stay tuned for some big news about spring time on the NorthShore!

December 30, 2005

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays almost behind us, we thought this would be a good time to let you know about some of the activities on the North Shore. Like you, we’ve been concerned about the merchants and wanted to see if this was a successful season for them.

We were more than excited to hear that many merchants are reporting fourth quarter sales that are up by 20% and some report that sales are up by 5% overall. This is great news for all of us and points to the fact that by working together, we can keep the NorthShore surviving and thriving during the life of this project.

We hope you’ll support NorthShore merchants during the winter months and look forward next week, to sharing some exciting news about upcoming events and activities. We’ll give you a couple of hints: runners, a box of chocolates and very big hair.

From all of the crew and our families, we wish you a very Happy New Year!

December 9, 2005

Of course we love reporting that we continue to be on time and accident free but several of you have asked us how we stay that way. When you look at all of us working on the bridge, you may wonder how everyone knows what to do and when. As a result of some of these questions, we thought we would share with you how we work.

The Market Street Bridge Project is a little different because of the historical significance of the bridge. Right now we have teams that are working on concrete and the actual bridge but you may have noticed some new equipment popping up on the river. We will soon have new team members with special expertise in river work joining the project. All of these teams are managed by superintendents. Most projects have one general superintendent with foremen reporting to them, but on this project, we have multiple teams who report to three superintendents who in turn, report to our project superintendent. Then we have a project manager who helps make sure all the materials and paperwork are flowing so that the workers have everything they need to get their job done.

If you are up early enough, you might look over on the bridge and see several clusters of workers gathered together. That is how we start our day; we call them “Tool Box Meetings”. These meetings help us organize for the day and help us keep safe through daily discussion and reminders of any safety concerns! We begin each day knowing exactly what needs to be done and how it needs to be done.

This is probably more than you wanted to know about a construction project, but we believe it is important for you to know as much as possible about a one of this city’s most recognizable icons. And trust us, when completed, you’ll still recognize the Market Street Bridge.

See you next week!

December 2, 2005

As you are taking a walk by our construction site, you may see some of our team working on the inside of the bridge. Now that we’ve removed much of the fascia from the bridge, our workers are chipping away the damaged areas and replacing them with new concrete and reinforced steel plates.

With the cold months upon us, some have wondered if the temperatures impact our ability to work. The simple answer is: no. As we are mixing concrete, we often add hot water to the mix. Once the concrete has been poured and is in place, we will place a blanket around it to capture the heat the concrete produces as it cures over the first 72 hours. This allows it to set and keeps our project moving.

The concrete mix of today is far different from the original mix used on the bridge. The earlier mix consisted of old river rock and pea gravel and took a long time to set. The modern mix is comprised of Limestone and manufactured additives that make it quick to set and give it a much longer life.

And, you may have noticed that some of the columns on the northern approach are being replaced. This was not in the original plan for the project; however, TDOT found that the reinforced steel used in the columns has suffered significant damage and lacks the integrity to support the renovated bridge. Our team is working hard to replace the columns- -and no, it isn’t adding any time to the project.

That’s all for this week. See you from the bridge!

November 23, 2005


It is Thanksgiving week and as we take our first short break from work, it’s time to pause and give thanks for the success we’ve had on the project so far. We are thankful for so much, but most of all, that our project remains accident-free and on time.

We are also thankful for the power of teamwork—and not just our daily crew on the bridge. The incredible support we’ve had from TDOT and the North Chattanooga Council of the Chamber of Commerce has been like nothing we’ve ever experienced. They have helped us work together with the community and we continue to be pleased to hear good news from the merchants.

Which reminds us…with the beginning of the holiday shopping season, we hope you will continue to visit the NorthShore merchants for all of the folks on your holiday list.

We’ll see you next week, after we recover from turkey, dressing and football!

November 18, 2005

Sometimes the best news is no news at all. That’s about what we have for you this week. We continue to remove the spandrel wall off of the southern arches on the bridge. Because of the amount of work being done over the Tennessee River, you will soon be seeing another fleet of barges arriving that will be placed under our work to catch materials coming off of the bridge.

We remain on schedule with our work and are pleased that our team has focused not only on the quality of work but on completing their work safely.

See you from the bridge!

November 11, 2005

With our work still on schedule, we decided to see how the closing of the Market Street Bridge has impacted the merchants on the NorthShore.

We began with a visit to DeLaney O’Daniel, assistant manager of The Knitting Mill Antiques. DeLaney told us that since the bridge closed, traffic is now re-routed by their store and they’ve actually seen an increase in business. They are so thrilled with the exposure and new traffic that they held an open house over the weekend to meet the needs of holiday shoppers.

We also stopped by for a quick visit with Joan Nash of Bone Appetite. Joan told us that their business is “booming” since the completion of construction work on Frazier. She told us that the Market Street Bridge closure hadn’t impacted her business nearly as much as the other construction projects have. We very extremely pleased to hear this from her and couldn’t help picking up a treat or two for some of our furry friends.

After these two visits, we stopped off for coffee at the Stone Cup and discovered that the NorthShore is so prosperous that it is actually adding to it’s retail offerings with the addition of “Embellishments” opening their doors to shoppers in the coming days.

As construction folks, we keep focused on the safety and quality of our work. But as partners on the NorthShore, we know the importance of solid retail business. We are glad to hear that the merchants are not only surviving but thriving during this time. And like us, we hope you’ll do your holiday shopping on the NorthShore!

November 3, 2005

It’s the little things that make a difference in a complex project like ours.
We’ve talked quite a bit about how fortunate we’ve been with the weather, but there’s another key ingredient to keeping this project on schedule and on budget. It’s teamwork- -and for us, it’s making sure we keep our suppliers aware of our timelines and expectations so that they in turn, can provide us with the materials we need-- when we need them.

It may seem fairly simple, but in any given week, our team will have dozens of suppliers and sub-contractors on whom we depend to keep our project moving forward. We also work closely with local and state government to make sure we have all of the necessary permits in place.

Our suppliers and sub-contractors have been critical to making sure progress continues to be made. We are grateful for the addition they’ve made to our team and look forward to keeping to our scheduled work timeline of two years.
If you take a look at the barges located beneath the bridge, you may see some large drums on them. The drums are placed to prevent material spillage into the Tennessee River. And while they may seem pretty ugly to folks on the water or those enjoying Coolidge Park, they’re pretty re-assuring to our environment.

We’ll see you here next week.

October 28, 2005

You may have noticed a large barge placed directly under the Market Street Bridge. The barge came down river and was put in place late last week. It will be instrumental in the work ahead as we approach work to be done over the Tennessee River.

In the coming days, you will begin to see the removal of the spandreal walls from the northern arch spans. Once that task is complete, we will repeat the process on the other spans of the bridge. As the work is done, the arch columns will be braced and supported so that they can be repaired. The debris from this work will be caught by the barges under the bridge. Great care is being taken to make sure nothing falls into the Tennessee River.

If you take a look at the site from the Walnut Street Bridge or Coolidge Park, you’ll notice that the deck, rails and caps are almost totally removed from the area we’re working in. We continue to be fortunate with our work schedule and look forward to this weekend’s time change which will allow our team to begin working earlier in the day.

Thanks for checking in with us. We’ll update you same time next week.

October 21, 2005

Our team just marked our first significant milestone on the project- -the conclusion of our first month of work. Thanks to some great fall weather and no injuries or accidents resulting in loss time from the project, we are right on schedule. Working safe and smart is really paying off in progress.

Speaking of progress, so far we have removed 13-14 inches of concrete and asphalt from the bridge decking. As a result of that, 1100 tons of concrete and infrastructure have been removed from the construction site and 100 tons of rebar have also been removed and recycled.

As you drive or walk by the construction site, you’ve probably noticed some of our heavy equipment. We have been using two cranes and three excavators on the demolition. In addition to the heavy equipment, 5000+ man hours have been put into this project during the first month alone. Our 25 workers have had an impact of at least $125,000 on the local economy.

We are striving to remain on schedule and accident free as we move toward our next milestone marker. Work is good and is getting even better with the fall breeze. Check back to see what the next few weeks bring!

October 14, 2005

This completes our third week into the project, and thanks to good weather and a great team, we remain on schedule. If you’ve spent any recent time walking across the Walnut Street Bridge or enjoying Coolidge Park, you’ve probably noticed quite a bit of demolition at the site.

We continue to work on the removal of the spandrel walls from the bridge. Spandrel walls cover the arches and hide the interior supports of the bridge. As you’ll notice from our photos for the week, we are quickly approaching work which will occur over the Tennessee River. Within a couple of weeks, we hope to have all of the spandrel walls removed.

By the end of next week, we will have three large barges in place under the bridge. One of our barges will hold a 250 ton crane while the others will be placed under the decks to catch falling debris.

Next week will note our first significant milestone for the Market St. Bridge renovation project—our one month anniversary. We hope to mark it by telling you that our site and team have remained safe and without injury. But of importance to you will be to know that our work remains on schedule!

Thanks for checking in!

October 4, 2005

It’s the call no one on a work site would ever want to receive. On Monday, our project foreman called to say that a body had been found at our worksite. No one knew how long the victim had been there or what had happened. The first call was made to 9-1-1, the second was back to the work site to make sure that all of our construction crew was safe and away from the scene so that the Chattanooga Police Department could move forward with their investigation.

Over the next few hours, we provided as much information as we possibly could to the authorities and did whatever we could to help. If you’ve been near our site, you’ve seen the protective fencing, signs and warnings to keep off of the bridge. Those warnings are there to keep accidents like the one that occurred on Monday from happening.

We hope and pray that nothing even remotely like this occurs during the remaining life of this project. We would also ask for your help in reminding your friends and family that this is a construction site, and as such, not a safe place for the public to be—at any time.

As for our work…
This week, our crew has grown to around 15 members and is still hard at work in the demolition phase of the project. If you happen to be part of the “Vol Navy” or the “Moc Navy” or are floating through downtown Chattanooga, you’ll notice the exposed areas of the archways which provide some interesting insights into the inner workings and support of the bridge.

As you can imagine, there is quite a massive build up of debris over 90+ years of service, and members of our crew have been hard at work removing it. We’ve included a few photographs in the next section which will show you some of the work we’ve done over the past week.

Next week, we’ll be seeing additional crew members added as our workload increases into different aspects of this historical project. We’ll keep you posted on what we’re doing.
See you next week!

September 18th was a big day for the Market Street Bridge. Marching in the “Ain’t Nothin’ Closed but the Bridge” Parade, our crew was among the last to cross the bridge. Following the parade, we moved our heavy machinery to the northern approach and immediately began our work with the removal of the asphalt and concrete decks on the bridge. Following removal, came hydro demolition, and, as you can tell by the photographs in the next section, you’ll see the construction crews went straight into demolition mode.

During this time, you’ll see the steel from the bridge being stored so that it can be recycled for other projects. We intend to do this for as much of the project material as possible. And, we’ve taken great care to make sure nothing falls into the Tennessee River. In the coming weeks, you’ll see a barge placed under the bridge with material stretched across it to ensure that items coming off the bridge are caught.

You may find yourself wanting to take a closer look at our work; however, we have placed fencing and signage at the site to make sure it remains safe—for you and for us. So, take a look at our weekly digital photographs.

We’ll see you next week to let you know what’s happening in the coming days.

© 2005 Mountain States Contractors