Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett is asking state lawmakers to help South Knoxville business owners affected by the Henley Bridge closure.
This week, TDOT announced that the bridge would be closed an additional eight months because of extra repairs that are needed. It was originally supposed to reopen at the end of June 2013. Now, it's not expected to reopen in February 2014, and work won't be fully completed until June 2014.
Burchett outlines the delays in a letter to the Knox County Legislative Delegation to be sent Friday, and says the bridge closure has already had a negative impact on businesses in South Knoxville.
He writes, "A delay in construction will put these businesses and the families that own them in greater peril."
Burchett says he hopes the lawmakers can provide some help and support for the businesses being hurt by the project. He says he is already in tough with CTAS (County Technical Assistance Services) to see if they can help.
He writes, "I am hopeful that a local bill might be enacted to provide tax relief that could make the difference between local entrepreneurs surviving or shutting down in South Knoxville. Possible, the relief could be similar to aid the legislature offered to Nashville businesses following the flooding a few years ago."