The Henley Street Bridge will open next Thursday, Oct. 17 at 12:01 a.m., a team of Tennessee Department of Transportation officials announced this morning.
TDOT Commissioner John Schroer was in town for a regional summit meeting, and was able to announce an official date for the re-opening of the bridge to traffic. Earlier this year, TDOT simply said it would be open "before Thanksgiving." One lane of traffic in each direction will be open at all times while crews put the finishing, non-structural touches on the Depression-era bridge.
"We have been working diligently on this bridge," Schroer said. "We worked really, really hard and really, really fast."
Once the railing is stained and lights are installed, the additional car lanes, bike lanes, and pedestrian sidewalk will be opened.
"It's a beautiful bridge," Schroer said. "It still looks like it did 80 years ago, but it's fresh and safe... It will make a huge difference for the movement of traffic in South Knoxville."
The cost of bridge is not changing because of the early opening. It's still estimated to cost about $31 million.
"We are excited to have this bridge open, but not as excited as the people of Knoxville," Schroer said.