A ribbon-cutting ceremony was to be held at 10 a.m., Friday, March 21, to officially open the new Highway 109 bridge over the Cumberland River which connects Wilson and Sumner Counties.
Although the ceremony was to be held Friday morning, two lanes of the bridge will open to traffic at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, March 22.
The bridge opens after threes of construction at a cost of $29.6 million, and officials in Wilson and Sumner Counties say it bring much in the way of economic prosperity.
“We’re excited about this ribbon-cutting,” said Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto, noting “it’s a great asset.”
Hutto mentioned the number of drivers who use Hwy. 109 to get to Highway 70 in Wilson or Interstate 40 or State Route 840 as they travel from Sumner County or even from Kentucky.
The new bridge is four lanes. Planning for the structure began a number of years ago when the old two-lane bridge was found to be structurally deficient, said Deanna Lambert, spokesperson with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
The old bridge was built in 1954, Hutto said.
The truss-style bridge, Lambert said, was showing its age, and the new bridge at four lances will make travel much safer.
The new bridge is something to see as well and includes brick pylons, concrete plazas at the bridge ends, trail sidewalks, special bridge lighting, a brick monument with mounted county and city bronze seals in the median, two lighted median flag poles, six, 4-foot diameter, aesthetic concrete median balls, detailed metal and concrete pedestrian railing, 400 feet of smoky plum, integrated, colored concrete deck and other special details and colors, Lambert noted.
“It will make that area look really good,” Hutto said. “It will add a whole lot of appeal.”
He noted that an effort has been under way for some time in Wilson to enhance all of the entrances into the county. “This really adds to that.”
"This is a very exciting project for TDOT, one that has been years in the making," Lambert said. "This is an extremely large bridge that was built over very deep water, which are factors that aren't common with your average bridge project.
TDOT is pleased to be able to offer more travel lanes, as well as sidewalks and a beautiful structure to this community.
“This bridge will serve the growing needs of Wilson and Sumner Counties for decades to come,” she said.
Hutto added that a Right-of-Way Access, or Access Management, Study is now under way by TDOT and should be complete in about two years that will lead to the widening of Hwy. 109 from the new bridge to Hwy. 70.
Once the study is done, then the design phase of the widening project will begin and then bids will go out.
Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katrina Cornwell writes for The Gallatin News.