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City To Advertise Walnut Street Bridge Renovation Project For Bids

  • Saturday, May 25, 2024

The city on Sunday will place a legally-required public advertisement for bids for work on the Walnut Street Bridge renovation project. The advertisement marks the official beginning of the project, but work on the bridge is not expected to begin until March 2025 at the earliest. 

Once work begins, it is expected to take 18 months to complete. 

This will be Walnut Street Bridge’s first major renovation in more than 30 years. While the bridge is safe for use, it is accruing wear-and-tear that cannot be fixed with occasional maintenance and could pose safety concerns in the near future if unaddressed. Renovations will address safety concerns, upgrade lighting, and fix electrical issues, officials said. 

Mayor Tim Kelly said, “The Walnut Street Bridge isn’t just a crucial gathering place and connection between downtown and the NorthShore, it is a powerful symbol of Chattanooga and a source of civic pride. Frankly, this work is overdue. For too long civic leaders have kicked the can down the road and let this shining jewel of our city fall into disrepair. It’s time to start the process of renovating the bridge so that it can enrich our city for the next 30 years the way that it has for the previous 30.” 

 The city plans to add protected lanes to Veterans Memorial Bridge and Market Street Bridge for the duration of work on the project. The additional lanes will accommodate the increased need for alternate pedestrian and bicycle river crossings–minimizing the impact on Chattanoogans, visitors and merchants downtown and on the NorthShore. Because Market Street is a state road, plans for additional protected lanes on Market Street Bridge must be approved by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, which is pending. The city will not require TDOT approval to add protected lanes on Veterans Memorial Bridge. 

While pedestrians will not be able to cross the river using the bridge during construction, portions of the bridge are expected to remain open as possible so that Chattanoogans can still enjoy it as a public outdoors space. Public art, which plays an important role in enriching public spaces, will be utilized to help activate the area, providing connectivity, encouraging imagination, and fostering a vibrant community atmosphere. Arrangements will be made to provide access to Walnut Street Bridge for participants in signature Chattanooga events like Ironman, the 7 Bridges Marathon and others. 

To see a concept drawing of possible additional pedestrian and bicycle lanes on Veterans Memorial Bridge and Market Street Bridge, click here

The project will be funded through a combination of federal transportation dollars and city hotel-motel tax funds. The city has allocated hotel-motel tax funding for this project in recent budget years.  

The city will provide updates to the public via press outreach, social media, and the Walnut Street Bridge website as we get closer to work beginning on the bridge. 

Residents can Text "WSB" to (423) 249-9181 to receive text notifications of project updates and subscribe to receive email updates here

See below for a rough anticipated timeline of the project: 

May 2024 - City of Chattanooga bid advertisement 

July 2024 - Bid opening, review, and analysis 

August 2024 - Bid selection, TDOT review of selected bid, City Council award of contract 

September 2024 - Execution of contract 

October 2024 - Public notice and pre-construction work 

March 2025 - Construction begins, alternate pedestrian routes opened 

Fall 2026 - Construction completed 

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