March 2, 2011 - The City of Knoxville will repair the bridge on the Third Creek Greenway in time for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon on April 3.
The wooden bridge, located behind Safety City about three-tenths of a mile west of the Third Creek Greenway's Concord Road entrance, was washed out during Monday's flooding. That section of the greenway is part of the marathon and half-marathon course.
The Third Creek Greenway also connects greenways that access downtown, the University of Tennessee and Volunteer Landing with greenways extending into Sequoyah Hills and west to Bearden Elementary School on Kingston Pike.
"At a minimum we will get a temporary fix there and have it open for pedestrians between now and the marathon," said David Brace, deputy director of the city's public service department.
"That's our number one priority now, to get it back in place by April 3," added Parks and Recreation Director Joe Walsh.
The short-term plan is to place the bridge – which was picked up and deposited, mostly intact, onto the north bank of the creek – back onto its foundation and make sure it is in shape for pedestrian traffic.
Anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 people use the trail each month, depending on the season. City vehicles had also used the bridge to access the greenways for maintenance work.
"We think long-term we need to look at a new bridge," Walsh said.
Placing the bridge back onto its foundations will involve using a crane but Walsh said the greenways are built to handle heavy vehicles. City officials are currently meeting with contractors about the project.