I would like to respond to some of Ms. Charlton's observations in her letter published in the June 26 Metro Pulse. ["My Year of Driving Knoxvillian-ly"] I would like to do so with the same wit that she displayed, but my professional ethics as an engineer require that I remain humorless.
If Ms. Charlton (or anyone else) observes bumps, cracks, potholes, or utility covers that force avoidance maneuvers, please let us know about them. We have a program that tracks the condition of streets, but we can't be everywhere so we rely on information from the public. The easiest way to share this information with us is to call 311 (or 215-4311; the e-mail address is
One of the biggest ongoing items in the Knoxville capital budget is our street resurfacing program. The asphalt on a long section of Sutherland, including the area near Middlebrook, was renewed in 2013 as part of this program. But there is one section we had to skip: the concrete-decked bridge over the railroad tracks.
This bridge has some structural deficiencies that we are in the process of correcting; deck condition is one of the deficiencies. Bridges are highly regulated (because no one likes it when bridges collapse), and in order to meet all the regulations, the repair process takes time. We are currently working through the design phase. When the design is complete and reviewed by all parties, it will take additional time for us to develop agreements with the railroad to meet their requirements. We will also need to coordinate with UT on some major site work they are doing on adjacent property. Construction can take place only after all those steps are completed.
Meanwhile, we do our best to patch the deck surface, but temporary patches on concrete are difficult and create a rough surface. We ask the patience of the public as we work toward a complete repair of this bridge.
James R. Hagerman, PE
Director of Engineering, City of Knoxville