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Planning has begun for the Walnut Street Bridge renovation

The City of Chattanooga has opened bids for the highly anticipated renovations of the Walnut Street Bridge — here is a general timeline + key aspects to note.

The opening of the Walnut Street Bridge during sunset

We’re bridging the pieces together for you all.

Photo via Chattanooga Tourism Co.

The City of Chattanooga recently posted an advertisement for bids for the Walnut Street Bridge renovation, marking the start of this anticipated project.

While the project won’t begin until March 2025, we’re sharing some key details to help you cross that bridge when we come to it.

This project will be the first major renovation of the beloved Walnut Street Bridge in 30 years. Crews will focus on addressing safety concerns by working on structural steel repairs, new decking, installing new electrical + lighting systems, and repainting the bridge.

NOOGA | Walnut Street Bridge

The Walnut Street Bridge was dedicated as a pedestrian bridge in 1993.

“The Walnut Street Bridge isn’t just a crucial gathering place and connection between downtown and the NorthShore, it is a powerful symbol of Chattanooga and a source of civic pride,” said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly.

What to expect

  • The bridge will be closed to all pedestrian traffic wanting to fully cross the Tennessee River, but areas will remain open to continue to activate the space.
  • Construction will halt in times of major events (think: Ironman, 7 Bridges Marathon, etc.) to make the bridge temporarily crossable.
  • Protected lanes will be added to the Veterans Memorial + Market Street Bridges — closing at least one lane originally used by car traffic and converting it to a designated space with a physical barrier for pedestrians and cyclists.

Note: The Market Street Bridge is overseen by TDOT, meaning approval is needed before protected lanes can be designated.

Bonus: Our followers had some great questions about the project that we uncovered answers to with the help of Chattanooga’s Senior Advisor to the Mayor Eric Holl. You can also expect:

  • 11 cameras will be installed, spanning the length of the bridge.
  • The dedication plaques will be preserved and reinstalled on the new wood planks in the same order + similar locations.
Map of alternative pedestrian routes across the Tennessee River

Check out the proposed plans for pedestrians and cyclists to use when crossing the Tennessee River.

Map provided by the City of Chattanooga

Projected timeline

  • July | Bid opens, review + analysis
  • August | Bid selection, TDOT review of selected bid + City Council award of contract
  • September | Execution of contract
  • October | Public notice + pre-construction work
  • March 2025 | Construction begins + alternate pedestrian routes open — Note: Construction is projected to take 18 months.
  • Fall 2026 | Construction completed

This project will primarily be funded by federal transportation dollars + city hotel-motel tax funds (which the city has been setting aside in previous budgets over the years).
Folks can get updates by texting “WSB” to 423-249-9181, subscribing to email alerts, or bookmarking the city’s website dedicated to the project.