Petition circulating to rethink Tennessee River Bridge - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Petition circulating to rethink Tennessee River Bridge

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

A year after a proposed bridge was cut from the Tennessee transportation project list, people living in Soddy Daisy are hoping to restart the conversation.

A petition is circulating, urging TDOT and elected officials to rethink the bridge connecting Soddy Daisy and Harrison. Last year TDOT threw out the idea, saying it was too expensive.

The bridge would link Highway 27 to portions of Interstate 75. Neighbors said it would cut down on the time spent traveling from Soddy Daisy to other areas between Chattanooga and Cleveland.

In just a few days, nearly 15 hundred people have signed a petition in favor of a bridge in Soddy Daisy. “I started the petition because me personally would like to see a bridge,” said Dawn Thornton.

Dawn Thornton lives in the Lakesite community, it takes her almost 45 minutes to get to the other side of Hamilton County. “They are talking that it could be a toll bridge. That is okay. In your tolls versus in your gas money, it will probably come out to be a wash. I am willing to pay the toll if it saves me time.”

For nearly 10 years there has been debate about creating a bridge in Soddy Daisy. 

State-led studies have been done. In 2016 a committee scrapped the project idea, saying the toll for the river bridge would be too much money for drivers. 

“The estimates in 2009 were 236 million dollars, to 433 million dollars for this project. Really really pricey, and then with the population decreased in the area and average daily traffic county gone down. It would be so expensive to cross this bridge one time,” said Jennifer Flynn with TDOT.

Thornton disagrees. It's an expense she says is worth it. 

“The bridge may not be super super busy. But for  the people who work at Volkswagen or McKee and I could name so many other companies that are in-between Ooltewah and Cleveland, that I know people who work there it would benefit them greatly,” said Thornton.

She hopes TDOT will reconsider the project to bridge the two communities. 

“I hope they take a second look at it and listen to the public," said Thornton. "That, yea we are willing to pay a toll. If you will open it up, lets talk about it. Maybe have a community forum. Lets discuss this.”

Officials with TDOT said they are aware of the petition circulating. It's not on TDOT's priority list.

A spokesperson says there is still a chance a bridge could be built, but it the project would likely not meet the criteria for a toll bridge.

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