SNEEDVILLE (AP) — Endangered freshwater mussels living in the Clinch River in upper East Tennessee have derailed a plan to build a temporary bridge in Hancock County while an existing bridge is repaired.
Residents in the community of Kyles Ford argued in a public meeting held by the Tennessee Department of Transportation on Thursday that without a bridge, commute time would increase about 45 minutes as traffic Sneedville and emergency vehicles would face a delay.
The Kingsport Times News reported that TDOT Regional Director Steve Borden told the crowded courthouse that federal regulations protecting the mussels prevent the state from building a bridge that could affect their habitat.
TDOT estimates nearly 700 vehicles per day cross the bridge on Route 70 North, which is scheduled to be under repair for 12-18 months.
Information from: Kingsport Times-News, http://www.timesnews.net