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Wilkes T. Thrasher Bridge

Wilkes T. Thrasher Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: November 11, 2014

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
TN-153 Over Tennessee River (Chickamauga Dam)
Chattanooga: Hamilton County, Tennessee: United States
Structure Type
Metal Rigid-Frame, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Deck Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1954 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
192 Feet (58.5 Meters)
Structure Length
3,374 Feet (1028.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
59 Feet (17.98 Meters)
18 Main Span(s) and 13 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

This is a very unusual bridge. Not only was it built directly on top of a dam, but it was built many years after the dam was built. A number of dams include bridge-like structures on them, that may be just for dam maintenance or may carry an actual highway. Typically however such structures are built at the same time as the dam. The Chickamauga Dam was built from 1936-1940. The bridge however was not built until 1954. The highly unusual design soars high above most of the dam to accommodate the height of the power house which it also passes over, and also to allow for maintenance vehicles on the dam below. Most structurally significant about the bridge itself are that many of the spans utilize a steel rigid-frame design. Steel rigid-frame bridges, particularly from the pre-1970 era when rivets were still used are extremely rare. Other spans on the bridge appear to be more traditional simple riveted deck plate girders and steel stringers. In 1984, the bridge was widened from two lanes to four lanes by adding steel cantilever brackets to the bridge to support a new deck of increased width.

A smaller bridge associated with the time of the dam itself is near this bridge and can be seen here.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Wilkes T. Thrasher Bridge

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Maps and Links: Wilkes T. Thrasher Bridge

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