Bridge closure means longer emergency response times

ANDERSON CO., Tenn. (WVLT)-- People living in one part of Anderson County say they're at high risk after the Johnson Gap Road bridge closed three months ago.

This bridge was built in 1989, now piles of dirt sit in front of it to keep people from passing across.

"It is very concerning," says Donna Daugherty, who lives near the bridge.

Anderson county officials say CSX owns it and that's who needs to take action.

"We are very upset and I don't know when they're going to fix it or if they're going to fix it ...I honestly feel that something needs to be done with it and it needs to be reopened," says Daugherty.

Detour signs are set up to help people go around the bridge. We timed it and it took just over 10 minutes.

While 10 minutes doesn't seem like a very long time, it could mean life or death in a dangerous situation.

"It's a longer route for your schools buses, it's a longer route for your emergency traffic, because this road leads to the shortcuts of getting to the people quicker," says Daugherty.

James Cox owns Little Ponderosa Zoo, a non-profit for exotic animals.

"Our feed bill runs about 6 to 7 thousand dollars a month here at Little Ponderosa," says Cox, "No matter if the bridge is in or out the animals still have to eat."

Cox says the bridge closing creates too much of a hassle for potential visitors.

"That has devastated our business because that detour is out of the way and people don't know what to do when they get to this point."

He has no choice but to get by with what he has and the people who live on this road hope they won't face a crisis and have to call 9-1-1.

Local 8 News contacted CSX to ask if they plan to fix the bridge but haven't heard back.

Anderson County officials say they expect an answer by Thanksgiving.

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