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TDEC Meeting in Coffee County produces strong emotions

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) held a public hearing on Monday, May 6, 2024 at the Coffee County Administrative Plaza at 5PM.

The public hearing was held for ARAP Permit NRS23.200, a permit being sought by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) regarding the removal of the Pratt Truss Bridge at Old Stone Fort State Archeological Park and the impact that action could have on the Duck River.

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TDOT proposes unavoidable permanent impacts to 80 feet of stream and temporary impacts to 388.5 feet of stream associated with a bridge replacement and bank stabilization on the Duck River and three unnamed tributaries, and 0.08 acres of temporary wetland impacts in Old Stone Fort State Park in Coffee County.

The meeting opened with a presentation from TDEC with Dr. Claire Wainwright, Division of Water Resources explaining their findings about potential impact to the Duck River.

A brief question and answer session yielded questions from the audience regarding potential wildlife that could be impacted during the construction. Wildlife such as Loggerhead Shrike (songbird), Bats and mussels.

During the public comment session, many citizens became emotional at the microphone, recounting personal stories about the bridge. Some pleading with the TDEC officials to reconsider removing the bridge.

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Deb Morgan revealed that the Old Stone Fort Bridge Preservation group’s engineers had met earlier in the day with David Salyers, P.E., P.G. ,Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation¬† regarding the engineers’ findings at the bridge.

Gordon Revey, a resident of the Country Club subdivision, a professional engineer that has worked on major bridges across the country had this to say:

TDEC has not yet responded to Mr. Revey’s question.

Mike Toney, Jimmy Jernigan, Donna Toney, John Marchesoni, Gary Kiviniemi

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