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Regional & National

Endangered mussels derail East Tennessee bridge project

November 4th, 2011 11:50 am by Staff Report

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.

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Information from: Kingsport Times-News, http://www.timesnews.net

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