Editorial: Henley Street reopening is welcome news for Sevier/Knox commuters

Aug. 28, 2013 @ 11:03 PM

Residents in the south Knoxville and Seymour communities were relieved at the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s announcement on Monday that the Henley Street Bridge project will reopen to traffic by Thanksgiving.

TDOT Commissioner John Schroer announced the nearly three year project will wrap up  in a press release.

“Work has progressed rapidly over the past several months, and we are so pleased to be able to reopen this bridge to traffic before the busy holiday season. We realize the hardship this closure has placed on residents, business owners, and travelers. We appreciate the public’s patience as we move towards the total completion of this important rehabilitation.”

South Knoxville was hit hardest by the bridge’s closure during the construction, but Sevier and Knox County motorists that commute between the two counties for work also were inconvenienced during the bridge’s down time.

“We realize the hardship this closure has placed on residents, business owners, and travelers,” Schroer told WBIR. “We appreciate the public’s patience as we move towards the total completion of this important rehabilitation.”

Originally the bridge work was supposed to be done by June, but the project was delayed when greater than expected issues were found within the bridge’s concrete piers.

Those problems moved the expected date of opening for traffic to February 2014.

The state deserves kudos for taking steps to speed up the process to get traffic flowing in time for the holiday season. The potential traffic, both by vehicles on the road and shoppers in the stores, will be a welcome sight in south Knoxville.