Tennessee State Representative for the 47th District (Grundy and Coffee County), Rush Bricken, told Thunder Radio that he and Tennessee State Senator, Janice Bowling, collaborated on a letter regarding the Pratt Truss Bridge at Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park.
Both Bricken and Bowling attended the open meeting hosted by the Tennessee State Parks officials, about the bridge removal and conceptualized plans for a new bridge to be built, that was held November 6, 2023.
The letter was sent to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
A portion of the letter read as follows:
“After listening to the discussion regarding the new and old bridge issues, it became very clear the possibility of restoring the old bridge was never seriously considered. It appears engineers early on determined the truss bridge was unsafe and not repairable. At the meeting several citizens stated they had researched the bridge’s status with highly credentialed truss bridge engineers. The result of their investigation revealed the old truss bridge could be restored to current safety standards and working condition for around $250,000. I, Rush Bricken, have also talked to a local citizen who holds a PHD in structures, who stated he felt certain a truss bridge of this design, and age could be safely restored. What we are asking is for TDOT and TDEC to schedule a meeting with the leaders of the Save the Bridge group. This group will present their support for keeping the bridge at the present location and restoring it to a safe and usable condition. If the group’s assessment and recommendations are determined to be accurate, we certainly hope that TDEC and TDOT will revise the current plan for the park accordingly.”