KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An emergency contract will be needed to repair or replace the washed out bridge on Jones Cove Road in Sevier County, according to a spokesman with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Since the collapse was a box bridge collapse, a complete replacement will be needed before the road can be opened again, said TDOT spokesman Mark Nagi. The collapse happened near Wilhite Road in Sevier County.
The road closure is indefinite and TDOT is continuing to assess the situation, he said. TDOT released some optional routes for drivers late Monday.
A timeline for repairs is anticipated to be made in the next few weeks, Nagi said.
There are 19,915 highway bridges in Tennessee, according to the TDOT website. That doesn’t include about 400 that are owned and operated by Federal agencies. The average age of a Tennessee highways bridge is 44 years old, in line with the national average. Highway bridges are typically financed by a mix of federal, state and local funding.
In a tweet, Nagi said the collapse is due to heavy rains in the area recently. East Tennessee has seen multiple heavy storms that dropped several inches of rain in the region, especially in Greenbrier area of the Smokies, downtown Knoxville, Powell and in Anderson County.
EDITORS NOTE: This story has been updated to show the emergency contract is needed but has not yet been developed.