Falling Water bridge may soon be replaced – joint effort of TDOT, White County and Cookeville

by | April 13, 2017 7:06 am

Members of White County Commission’s Steering Committee A have voted to send a resolution to the full court that would allow funds from the state to be used in for the replacement of the bridge on Roberts-Matthew Highway.

On April 10, 2017, White County Finance Director Chad Marcum made a presentation to committee members about a potential project that would replace the Roberts-Matthews Bridge over Falling Water River. The project would be a joint effort of White County, City of Cookeville and Tennessee Department of Transportation.

According to Marcum, the bridge is jointly owned by the City of Cookeville and White County. TDOT has recently conducted a survey of the bridge and has rated it is as being in poor condition. The bridge reportedly has structural deficiencies and needs to be completely replaced.

According to the TDOT report, there are several cracks and deteriorating concrete in the structure of the bridge. The report states the bridge was originally built in 1936. TDOT is proposing the bridge be replaced with a new structure that will be 5 feet wider than the existing one.

Marcum stated that federal grant funding would be used to cover 80 percent of the replacement cost, which would leave TDOT, White County and the City of Cookeville responsible for covering the remaining 20 percent. According to the presentation, Marcum proposed that the county use funds from the state that are allocated to White County for bridgework. This would allow the county to have little to no cost for the project.

According to the TDOT, the total bridge replacement project would cost approximately $2.6 million. The committee voted unanimously to send the resolution to the full commission for final approval. The time line for this project to be completed is within the next three years.

Other business discussed by the steering committee included:

-Discussions on the potential for more seating at the tennis courts

-The recommendation that the county should consider resurfacing the tennis courts in the near future

-Discussions on the ongoing expenses of maintaining the road leading to Virgin Falls State Natural Area

-A concern citizen requesting that the county considers restriping the faded lines on county roadways

In the Solid Waste Committee meeting that was held on April 10, discussions were once again held about potentially accepting the solid waste from Van Buren County. According to Commissioner Terry Alley, “It’s a no brainer that we should do it.”

As previously reported by The Expositor, the White   County Board of Commission has voted in the previous two commission meetings about accepting solid waste from Van Buren County. Both votes failed to either pass or receive a motion to be voted on.

During the solid waste committee, members discussed the need for a joint meeting between the two steering committees so the commissioners may be better educated about the proposal and the existing condition of the landfill.

White County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson stated he would contact Van Buren to see if they were still interested into entering into a contract with White County for solid waste services. If Van Buren still wishes to enter into a contract with White County, the two steering committees will have a joint meeting in May.

Other business discussed by the solid waste committee:

-County recently purchased a pickup truck for the landfill and is looking for a backhoe.

-The engineer’s report recommended the county request that their current landfill permit be modified to raise the height of the landfill. This would extend the life of the existing cell by two years.

-Repairs were made to a pump at the landfill

The White County Board of Commissioners will be meeting at 6 p.m., April 17, the White County Courthouse, in the third floor courtroom.

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