HUMPHREYS COUNTY, TN – In the summer of 2021, a flash flood washed through Humphreys County, Tennessee, leaving homes, businesses, schools and infrastructure badly damaged. Waverly, home to Benesch Project Manager Jake Williams, was one of the areas hardest hit. Immediately following the flood, Williams worked with the county to identify damaged bridges and plan for their repair or replacement. Over the next several years, Benesch will partner with the county on a total of 17 bridge projects.
“From 2005 to 2019, I’ve worked on 14 bridge projects in the county. As a result of this flood, we’ll have more work in the area right now than I’ve had in the last 16 years combined,” said Williams.
Through an on-call contract with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), Benesch was able to quickly get approval for three bridges to be replaced through the High Priority Bridge Replacement Program (HPBRP). For the remaining bridges, the Benesch Team is assisting Humphreys County directly with gaining FEMA funds through the disaster declaration.
The FEMA funded bridges will include additional money for future flood hazard mitigation. Some upgrades are simple, such as upgrading a timber bridge to a concrete bridge. Other techniques include installing deeper foundations to resist scour, improved bridge span arrangements, and general bridge size upgrades to reduce flood risk and inundation.
“We’re excited to already have approval from FEMA on eight project estimates which include three bridge repairs and five replacements,” said Williams. “The community is eager to recover and the Benesch Team is ready to help. My personal goal is to get these three repairs to letting by June.”
Additional lettings are expected to occur through the fall and winter. Benesch will then assist the county with construction observation and administration.
In the wake of the flood, Benesch donated $5,000 to United Way of Humphreys County. The organization started the Humphreys County Relief Fund to get victims immediate and long-term assistance as quickly as possible.