A routine Tennessee Department of Transportation inspection of the Gay Street Bridge today revealed a compromised element, which out of an abundance of caution has led to a complete closure of the bridge to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

A more detailed TDOT inspection of the bridge, which is owned and operated by the City of Knoxville, will be continuing. More data from the continuing inspection will determine what repairs will be required and how long the bridge will remain closed.

“We regret the inconvenience, but public safety is the absolute top priority for both TDOT and the City,” Engineering Director Tom Clabo said. “Once the inspection is finalized, the City will proceed quickly with repairs. Knoxvillians can be assured that the bridge will continue to be safe once the deficiencies are corrected.”

Built in 1898, the 1,512-foot-long bridge is the oldest spanning the Tennessee River in Knoxville. It is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

In 2004, the City, state and federal governments partnered on a $15.7 million Gay Street Bridge improvement project. From then until now, the bridge had passed each inspection, and no closures had been required due to safety maintenance.

Note: The bridge closure will not affect tonight’s downtown parade and celebration of the University of Tennessee’s national baseball championship. However, the parade staging area is being moved to Hill Avenue.