Elizabethton Bridge Receives National Award of Excellence
Bridge Recognized for Careful Planning, Design and Construction
Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is proud to announce that it has been given an Award of Excellence for its rehabilitation of the historic Elk Avenue Bridge in Elizabethton, Tennessee. The prestigious biennial competition, sponsored by Portland Cement Company, recognizes excellence in design and construction of concrete bridges. The competition had over seventy-nine entries from across the United States and Canada. Of the ten winning entries, the TDOT Elk Avenue Bridge project was the only winner in the rehabilitation category.
“TDOT is honored to receive this recognition, but the citizens of Elizabethton and Carter County also deserve credit for this award,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “It was their effort to preserve the Elk Avenue Bridge that prompted this rehabilitation project. This is an excellent example of what can happen when the citizens and local and state leaders work together for a common goal.”
The Elk Avenue Bridge, a concrete arch bridge built by the Luten Bridge Company, was erected in 1926 and is part of the Elizabethton Historic District. TDOT completed rehabilitation in 2005 as part of a $2 million rehabilitation project. Originally slated for replacement, a local preservationist began a successful campaign to convince the city to choose rehabilitation over replacement and to preserve the character of downtown Elizabethton.
“When we first heard of the project there was a lot of input from constituents who wanted to keep the heritage and tradition of Downtown Elizabethton,” said Representative Rusty Crowe. “I am proud that the community and TDOT were able to work together to preserve the important tradition and heritage of Elizabethton and Carter County.”
Representative Kent Williams added, “This is a beautiful bridge. I certainly appreciate the cooperation from TDOT on all of the Carter County projects.”
Judges in the competition noted, “This is just a fantastic rehabilitation job. Careful planning, design, construction, and attention to details helped return the 1926 jewel back to the community.”
Elizabethton is also home to other architecturally significant bridges. Just downstream from the Elk Avenue Bridge is the famous Elizabethton Covered Bridge that was built in 1882 and the nearby Broad Street (State Route 37/91) Bridge, originally built in 1929 which recently underwent its own repairs. TDOT chose to rehabilitate this bridge rather than replacing it to help continuing efforts to preserve historic downtown Elizabethton.