WJTV News Channel 12 - Closed bridge will cause kids at least a twenty minute delay

Closed bridge will cause students longer bus ride

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An unsafe bridge in Hawkins County will force some children to ride the school bus longer than they normally would.

Repairs were supposed to begin on the old steel Long's Bend Bridge in Surgoinsville last week. That didn't happen.

We were then told by county officials repairs would begin today, only, no crews physically worked on the project.

Leaders now say the bridge will not be repaired by Monday, when school begins.

Melanie Lindsey and her family live right behind the bridge. They have had to walk over to the other side to their parked car all month long.

"I didn't know it was going to be as inconvenient as it has been," she said.

She said things are about to get a little tougher for her family.

"I understand where they're coming from, but when school starts it's really going to be tough."

Longs Bend Bridge has been closed since July 3rd, and with no date yet announced as to when it will re-open, her kids' routines will be changed when school begins.

The buses will pick kids up twenty minutes early and drop them off at least twenty minutes late on Monday, and the county school board says that will be a trial run. They will have to readjust if twenty minutes isn't enough time to get the kids to school.

Hawkins County Superintendent of Roads Lowell Bean said the company that was awarded the contract will soon begin work on the bridge.

"Hopefully they can get started on it in the near future," said Bean. "I'm not going to put a time limit on when they will start."

Bean added that the County has done everything possible to get the repairs done, even pushing for an emergency bid, a process that he said usually takes up to thirty days.

"We've done all we can to speed this bridge up," said Bean.

Lindsey said all her family can really do is readjust their routines until the bridge is open.

"We're just gonna have to do what we have to do just to get by," she added.

Hawkins County Schools leaders say two buses that normally go over the bridge will instead take the twenty minute detour going over the Burem Bridge.

The buses will pick children up twenty minutes early, and drop them off at least twenty minutes late the first day of school.

Children on those buses will be excused if they are late for class.

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