PF Shortcut to Close for Eight Months
By DEREK HODGES
PIGEON FORGE — A shortcut between Waldens Creek and Wears Valley roads will likely be closed for eight months possibly starting next week thanks to an effort to eliminate one of the county’s last one-lane bridges.
Officials with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) recently awarded a contract to Charles Blalock & Sons Construction to replace the narrow span over Waldens Creek on Old Valley Road. That $288,000 effort is set to start Monday and last until the end of May.
The work will necessitate the closure of a portion of the street running from Waldens Creek Road to just past the waterway near the driveway for Covered Bridge Resort, TDOT Assistant Regional Construction Supervisor Duane Manning said. While that doesn’t meant the thoroughfare will be inaccessible from Monday until June, it does mean those who regularly use the road should start looking at alternatives.
“It will be closed for the vast majority of that time,” Manning said. “The official detour will be Waldens Creek Road to Wears Valley Road to Russie Gap Road.”
Manning said he’s not privy to the information about why the bridge was chosen for replacement in the project that will be funded entirely by TDOT. He did point to its one-lane width as the most likely reasoning for the project. The span sits at the bottom of a small hill coming from the direction of Covered Bridge, a fact that somewhat limits visibility for motorists watching for other cars headed toward the crossing.
Pigeon Forge officials discussed the planned project during their meeting Monday evening, with City Manager Earlene Teaster informing them of the work. The bridge is actually in the city limits, which are formed by Old Valley Road itself in that area.
While TDOT is picking up the tab for the project, the city will have to foot the bill for relocating a sewer line that runs along the span and is supported by its footings. The group will have to hold a work session in the coming weeks to discuss that work, Teaster said.
Read more: The Mountain Press - PF shortcut to close for eight months