‘It’s going to be more expensive’ | Jones Cove Road detour making commutes long

Detours around a bridge collapse are causing long drives for people to get to work or run errands.
Construction around a bridge collapse is beginning.
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 4:24 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2022 at 6:24 PM EDT
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SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - People in Jones Cove face adding up to an hour to their drive as they navigate around a bridge collapse to get back to the business districts in Sevier County.

While road crews start the repair process on Jones Cove Road, parents like Tesha Dotson are thinking about how they’ll get their kids to school in just two weeks.

“For me to take my kids to school, it took maybe 10 minutes, and now I’m looking at a 35 to 40-minute drive, just to get them to school every day,” said Dotson.

Dotson said she’d done the math, and the detour is not only taking her time but will have her driving more than 360 miles a week just for school.

“With prices going up, it’s going to be more expensive to get them to school for sure,” she added.

Neighbors in this community said they’re also worried about emergency services, wondering how someone would get to them if there is an emergency, especially when it takes up to 30 to 45 minutes longer to get anywhere.

“You have to go all the way to Newport now. Before, you could go right down the road next to New Center and go to Food City, but now you got to go all the way to Newport,” she said.

This close-knit community of friends and family is also now separated by this giant hole in the road.

“Not to mention, family lives here. Like, I have a cousin that lives right on the other side of the bridge, and it’s gonna take me 40 minutes to get to her house before it was a five-minute drive,” she said.

The school district is also making plans and hopes to release those next week.

TDOT survey, geotechnical engineers and environmental staff have been on site completing...
TDOT survey, geotechnical engineers and environmental staff have been on site completing necessary assessments. The Tennessee Division of Archaeology is also beginning their review.(Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

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