Rural/Metro paramedics: Bridge detour won't slow them down

Rural/Metro paramedics say Henley Bridge detour won't slow them down

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The Henley Bridge is set to close Monday and will remain closed 24 to 30 months for renovation. The Henley Bridge is set to close Monday and will remain closed 24 to 30 months for renovation.
"[Paramedics] are really more concerned about the waterways," explained TDOT Community Relations Officer Yvette Martinez. "[Paramedics] are really more concerned about the waterways," explained TDOT Community Relations Officer Yvette Martinez.
"I don't know of anywhere in Knoxville that we can't get to," said Rural/Metro Operations Manager Jim Carico. "I don't know of anywhere in Knoxville that we can't get to," said Rural/Metro Operations Manager Jim Carico.

By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- The Henley Bridge is set to close Monday and will remain closed 24 to 30 months for renovation. 

A detour from South Knoxville at Moody Avenue went into effect Thursday, causing confusion for some drivers, but first responders say they are ready for the change.

"I don't know of anywhere in Knoxville that we can't get to," said Rural/Metro Operations Manager Jim Carico.

Emergency crews have been planning for the closure of the Henley Bridge for months.

"In our business it's dynamic, and we're continually monitoring time of day and where our calls are, and we have to adjust to that on normal days," said Carico.

Detouring around traffic, crashes, and unexpected things like water main breaks are common, but Rural/Metro crews say a planned closure is much easier.

One of the biggest concerns is the detour from South Knoxville, but first responders say the best route for other drivers, may not be ideal for them.

"We're going to have plenty of routes," said Carico. "We've got the South Knoxville Bridge. We can still come across the Gay Street Bridge, you even have routes through Cherokee Trail, the back way into South Knoxville. We've got plenty of routes to take."

Right now, paramedics are most concerned about responding to the construction site of the bridge itself.

"They are really more concerned about the waterways," explained TDOT Community Relations Officer Yvette Martinez. "How can they get to someone who's in the water, how can they get to someone on a barge, how can they get to someone who's suspended over the bridge. So basically we're working with them on their access points on the river."

Those details are still being worked out as emergency crews and TDOT planning officials continue to meet and fine tune their plans.

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