TVA plans Little Wilbur Bridge replacement

Published 2:20 pm Wednesday, July 12, 2023

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From Staff Reports
The Tennesee Valley Authority hosted an open house Tuesday evening to provide the public with information on the agency’s plans to replace the bridge over the Little Wilbur Lake.
The bridge carries Wilbur Dam Road over the reservoir and provides the only vehicular access to local residences and the TVA hydropower station at Watauga Dam, a campground and recreation site including a boat launching ramp on the north shore of the lake, the picnic area at Watauga Dam and access to the Appalachian Trail and Cherokee National Forest.
The TVA Wilbur Bridge Replacement Project managers and TVA environmental specialists attended the meeting.
In a media alert, TVA said that “with modern construction, the new bridge would provide enhanced safety for homeowners, employees of the Watauga Dam and visitors to the recreational attractions in the area.
Bert Robinson, director of government and community relations for TVA in the East Region, said the current bridge has components dating back to the late-1800s and is due for a replacement because of safety reasons.
“This bridge was constructed back in 1942,” Robinson said. “It was actually constructed from a repurposed railroad bridge, which dates back from the 1890s. So, like anybody that age, it could use some work. So, for safety purposes and for a lot of other reasons, we’re replacing the bridge.”
No definite timeline was provided by the TVA on the Wilbur Reservoir bridge replacement.
Robinson said TVA leaders have already spoken with neighboring residents to let them know this project is in the works.
To minimize disruption in the area served by the Wilbur Dam Road Bridge, TVA is proposing to construct and open the new bridge adjacent to the current structure, prior to demolishing the existing bridge.
The public may submit comments on the proposal and the EA, and must be received on or before July 24, 2023.

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