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Henley Bridge construction passes original completion date | News

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Henley Bridge construction passes original completion date

(WBIR - Knoxville) June 30, 2013 marks what would have been the end date for a major construction project in Knoxville.

Initially, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) expected the Henley Bridge to be completed by this date. But earlier this year TDOT announced the project would not wrap up until next summer.

The bridge closed on January 3, 2011. Three weeks later, a track hoe accident killed one worker. Then in May, falling debris killed a second worker.

It caused construction to shut down for more than two weeks and also raised questions about safety on the job.

By 2013, TDOT announced construction crews needed to replace three of the large concrete pier columns, pushing the completion date into 2014.

The delay added $6 million to the project; in total the project will cost about $32 million.

Many South Knoxville businesses have taken a hit because of the detour.

Local leaders tried different ways to boost traffic to Chapman Highway, including Knox Cash Mob. In April, the state, city and county pledged to invest $70,000 into the area.

"Well I hope that those we've had to see move can come back or reopen once the bridge gets opened. You hate to see anybody go under," said Cari England, regional manager for Subway.

England said the Subway on Chapman Highway will be relocating further south, near the old Blockbuster.

She said the move was not because of business problems but a need for a larger parking lot and drive-thru.

LD Harless travels to South Knoxville from Corryton regularly.

"When the bridge gets going maybe it will start booming back again. I'm hoping for that myself," Harless said.

TDOT expects traffic to reopen by February 28, 2014 and expects to finish construction by June 2014.


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