Sunday, August 24 2014 12:56 AM EDT2014-08-24 04:56:42 GMT
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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - When the Henley Bridge closes for an extensive rehab project, some detour routes will affect South Knoxville neighborhoods and a school.
Thirty-eight thousand drivers cross the bridge that runs between South Knoxville and downtown every day.
"We want people to be prepared. That is the most important thing," said Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesperson Yvette Martinez. "We don't want anyone blind-sided by this."
It's those who live in South Knoxville or on that side of the Tennessee River who transportation officials are particularly concerned about.
"They know the short cuts, but we do ask people to understand those are neighborhoods and you must adhere to those speed limits," Martinez explained.
Dogwood Elementary School Principal Lana Shelton-Lowe said she is very conscious of the January 3 Henley Bridge closure, as are her teachers, some who live in another part of town.
"We hope that everyone will continue to use caution when they're going by the schools," Shelton-Lowe said.
The majority of their students will go to school the way they always have. Only a few live in East Knoxville. That means one school bus driver will need to plan for a detour and adjust to extra traffic.
"We'll give everyone a little grace period that first week until we get our routes worked out, and we know how we're going to get to school," Principal Shelton-Lowe said.
"Be cautious, be patient and definitely pay attention," Martinez advised.
In a matter of weeks, 75 signs will be posted around the Henley Bridge to help prepare drivers for the closure. It's expected to be closed for 24 to 30 months.