The nearly 90-year-old Wolf Creek Bridge is a five-span, reinforced concrete spandrel arch structure measuring nearly 630 ft in length. A challenge for the renovation of the historic bridge—which links small communities in Tennessee and North Carolina—was accommodating the quick rising river levels that occur after rain events, which results from the French Broad River’s draining of approximately 1700 sq miles of surrounding mountains. This put the project at risk of sudden increases in water volumes, which resulted in multiple overtopping events during construction. To minimize impacts from the overtoppings, contractor Bell & Associates used gabion baskets and chain link fence to confine onsite rock material, while 48-in. and 54-in. pipe culverts added to the construction haul road aided drainage. The contractor used an accelerated bridge construction technique by utilizing precast concrete, with the spandrel bents, fascia beams and bridge deck all constructed off site prior to the completion of demolition.

Wolf Creek Bridge

Del Rio, Tenn.

Key Players
Tennessee Dept. of Transportation
Construction engineering & inspection AECOM
Contractor Bell & Associates Construction LP