Tunnel lights going out; who's responsible?
CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WRCB) -- The light at the end of the tunnel, or rather in the tunnel, is getting darker for Scenic City motorists. About a quarter to half the lights in the Missionary Ridge Tunnel and the Brainerd Tunnels on McCallie Ave. are out.
However, it's twice as bad in the Stringer's Ridge Tunnel on Dayton Blvd. Nearly all the lights are out. "We also are aware that there are a lot of lights out in the Stringer's Ridge Tunnel," says TDOT's Jennifer Flynn.
TDOT is responsible for the state routes on Ringgold Rd., McCallie Ave. and Dayton Blvd. "This has brought it to our attention that we might need to check the other two tunnels as well," says Flynn.
Flynn says TDOT has ordered new lights and will replace the ones in Stringer's Ridge Tunnel by next week.
There is one tunnel that hasn't gone dark yet. It's checked every three months but that doesn't mean there aren't problems.
The Wilcox Blvd. Tunnel is the only tunnel in the city that is run by Chattanooga's Public Works Department. It's also the only tunnel with a sign that states pedestrians aren't allowed.
"There's very little ventilation in it so if you got a couple diesel vehicles in there and for some reason the traffic stops and somebody tries to walk through there, I'm not sure they'd make it through," says Lee Norris with the Public Works Department.
The lights may be on but Norris says there are more issues than you'd expect. "It was constructed back in the early 1930's. It is extremely small, dank and dark," he says. "It's to the point that our emergency service vehicles can't go through."
Norris says the city has applied for federal grants to pay for the $50 million in renovations the tunnel needs but the city has already been denied once and he doesn't see it changing any time soon. "We will be stuck with it for a while," Norris says.
TDOT will begin work in the Stringer's Ridge Tunnel by Wednesday or Thursday of next week and will work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.