As part of the bridge replacement project on I-24 in Chattanooga, contract crews for the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) in late May began pile driving operations during daytime hours for bridge foundations on Germantown Road over the interstate.
Originally the work was scheduled to take place during nighttime hours when traffic volume is lower because Germantown Road must be reduced to one lane in each direction during the work. However, on the evening of May 20, the contractor drove a test pile that ended by 2:00 a.m., not including the time it took to set up and break down the equipment.
Pile driving is a very loud operation on its own, but everyone on site realized that this location beneath a bridge seemed to intensify the sound from the impact of the pile driving hammer. Because of the proximity to residential areas, TDOT officials made the decision to allow the contractor to do all future pile driving on Germantown Road during the day. Since then, the TDOT has worked with the City of Chattanooga to coordinate signal timing in the area during the work.
"After hearing the amount of noise generated from the pile driving operation, we decided to allow the contractor to close lanes on Germantown Road during the day to complete this work," said TDOT Region 2 Director Joe Deering.
"This critical work needs to be done, and we believe that it is preferable to delay a driver for a few minutes during the day than to disrupt entire neighborhoods at night while families are trying to sleep."
Pile driving operations will continue on a regular basis until the end of June, although there will be times where testing, preparation and weather interrupts the activity. Depending on how the pile driving work progresses, intermittent daytime pile driving could be possible at this location until the beginning of August.
This work is being done as part of an effort to replace bridges over and on I-24 near mile marker 183 in Chattanooga, including the bridge on Belvoir Avenue over the interstate and the bridges on I-24 over Germantown Road.
The construction manager is Bell & Associates Construction and the design manager is Barge Design Solutions on the I-24 bridge replacement project. The entire $33 million operation is expected to be completed in August 2021.
Originally built in 1964, the I-24 bridges at Germantown Road and Belvoir Avenue in downtown Chattanooga have structural deterioration and deficiencies that needed to be addressed.