City officials said they will use a $25 million federal grant to replace the 70-year-old, long-deteriorating Wilcox Boulevard Bridge with a new, modern structure that will better connect residents to the Tennessee River while enhancing a core logistics corridor for the city.
The funding, which was granted by the U.S.
Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) program, represents one of the largest, single-item transportation investments in the city’s history.
“On behalf of the City of Chattanooga, I sincerely thank President Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for this historic investment into our city, which will uplift our transportation industry and ensure a more connected, healthy, and equitable future for our residents,” said Mayor Tim Kelly. “I also want to thank our congressional delegation, Governor Bill Lee, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Norfolk Southern, our state delegation, Mayor Jim Coppinger, our City Council and County Commission, and the many others who made this project possible.
"This unprecedented series of partnerships is the perfect example of the tremendous impact we can have when we work together on transformative solutions that will improve people’s lives for decades to come.”
He said the existing bridge has deteriorated to the extent that it can only support passenger vehicles, delaying East Chattanooga response times for first responders, and increasing the burden on the city’s local logistics and transportation industry.
When completed, the new bridge will expand equitable access to jobs, parks, trails, and essential services for some of the city’s most historically disadvantaged communities, while increasing safe access to one of the region’s most important logistical assets - Norfolk Southern’s DeButts Railyard, it was stated.
“We’re pleased to congratulate the city of Chattanooga for being awarded a federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) grant to replace and improve the Wilcox Boulevard Bridge in Chattanooga” said Deputy Governor and Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Butch Eley. “This bridge replacement will strengthen Chattanooga’s infrastructure network and provide a safer, more reliable route for members of the community. TDOT has a long, demonstrated history of working with the city and we look forward to continuing our partnership to ensure this project is successful.”
The new bridge will be engineered to modern structural integrity standards that will support CARTA buses, emergency vehicles, increased vehicular traffic, and multimodal freight to support future economic activity in East Chattanooga.
It will also include a new multi-use path that will directly connect East Chattanooga residents to the Riverwalk through the Wilcox Boulevard Connector - a pedestrian and bike connection the city plans to develop from Amnicola Highway at Wilcox Boulevard to the Riverwalk in the coming years.