TAZEWELL (WATE) – The Tennessee Department of Transportation closed 2 bridges in Claiborne County after inspections.
TDOT also rated three more bridges in poor condition.
There are 67 bridges in Claiborne County. TDOT has inspected 38 so far and closed the following:
Tiprell Road over Gap Creek
Buchanan Bridge Road over Little Sycamore Creek
Three more have been rated poor, and have some lanes closed:
Old Highway 63 over a Branch
Old Highway 63 over Cawood Branch
Providence Road over Keg Branch
People who live near the bridge on Buchanan Bridge Road say road crews first tried to block the road with just barrels.
"The barrels were thrown in the creek," said resident Carl Bolton.
Road crews had to put large rocks on the bridge to prevent people from crossing it.
Bolton travels on the bridge frequently.
"There's another way in, but it does cause some problems especially with the farmers or two up here that haul their cattle to the market on a 16 by 20 gooseneck," said Bolton. "They can't turn a curve on the other road."
It is going to be a long process to get the bridges fixed.
"The two that are permanently closed the engineers tell us it's an 8 to 12 month process," said Claiborne County Road Superintendent Bill Fultz, "To get the design and survey and get the drawings drawn up, send them to Nashville, get them approved, and then get them OKed. Then we can bid them out and get the contractor."
There are about a dozen families that use the Buchanan Ridge Road bridge.
"We are devastated," said resident Jerry Bailey. "How are we going to survive?"
Bailey lives directly beside the bridge and says it is going to cause major delays.
"If any ambulance comes in that's like a 20 minutes delay," said Bailey. "We have a fragile person up in the hollow."
County officials say the State Aid Bridge Grant will pay 80% of the cost to fix the five bridges, but the county will have to provide a 20% match.
"(The county commissioners) will need to help us with that because we don't have it in our budget," said Fultz.
Those who live near the bridges just want one thing.
"Fix it, get it done," said Bailey.
The Claiborne County Commission will meet June 17 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the bridge issue.
TDOT plans to inspect 29 other bridges in the county.