Rain hampers bridge work

Work to repair the collapse of the far westbound lane of the off-ramp for the Lewallen Bridge continues after heavy rains in late November caused the side of the road to slide down.

During the repairs, traffic has been restricted to one lane in each direction on Clinch Avenue on the west side of the bridge up to the road’s intersection with Charles G. Seivers Boulevard, which has caused some traffic delays during rush hours.

The collapse came where construction crews were working to install one of the abutments for the new Clinch River Bridge, which has been under construction for a year and four months just upstream from the Lewallen Bridge.

The city of Clinton this week released the following report on “Month 16 of the 36-month [new] bridge project”:

“Crews continue to work on stabilizing a slide that occurred after a heavy rain event, adjacent to the proposed location of Abutment #1. This work requires Clinch Avenue to be narrowed down to only one traffic lane flowing in each direction.

“We have adjusted our traffic signals to help accommodate the current traffic plan, and we hope to have at least one additional traffic lane available soon.”

… Eight bridge structures are being built, consisting of six piers and two abutments, numbered from north to south.”

The work underway to stabilize the road is taking place at Abutment 1, the city report said, adding that construction on this abutment “is on hold while the adjacent slide is stabilized. “

For Pier 1, “Columns [have been] poured, [and] concrete forms are currently being built for the cap.

Piers 2, 3, 5 and 6 and Abutment 2 are complete.

Pier 4’s columns have been poured, and “concrete forms [have been] built for the cap, and the cap is to be poured this week,” the city said.

As for the slide area, there are no problems with the Lewallen Bridge itself – it’s still in good shape,” Clinton City Manager Roger Houck said earlier. “What eroded was the roadway leading up to the bridge structure.

“The bridge had nothing to do with it, and the bridge is structurally sound.”

Crews working to build Abutment 1 “had driven some metal pilings to pour footings … and water got under those,” Houck said. “Now, they’re pulling those pilings up, moving them over, and filling in under the roadway where it’s solid.”

Because of the reduction to one lane going south, the two left-turn lanes from westbound Charles G. Seivers Boulevard to the Lewallen Bridge have also been reduced to one, as have the straight-through lanes from Main Street feeding onto the bridge. Orange cones are in place to redirect the traffic.

The new bridge is scheduled to open to traffic by late next year, Houck said. Then, the longtime downtown landmark better known as the Green Bridge will be demolished and removed.

The entire project expected to be completed by June 30, 2021, Houck said.