Knoxville faced the tragic closure of the Gay Street Bridge in February of 2001. Since that time, an approximate $16 million dollars has been spent to renovate the 107-year-old structure.
Expecting a surge of public sentiment and excitement, the City of Knoxville reopened the bridge at 11:59 PM on Easter with a private showing of The Passion of Christ on small screens located across the bridge. An estimated 12 people were in attendance.
The lackluster attendance of the event was magnified on Monday morning when nobody showed up to drive on the bridge. A quick poll of random folks found on either side of the bridge explained the matter quite easily. It would appear that over the past four years, people on either side of the bridge have discovered they have no true need to cross. One downtown resident summed it up by saying what was on everyone’s mind, “Why would anyone want to go to South Knoxville anyway?” Residents of South Knoxville seem to have simply developed a sense of complacency and no longer feel the urge to visit other portions of town.
City officials claim that the investment in the bridge was not a waste, however, due to the fact that so many people will be able to stand on it during Boomsday and enjoy the fireworks.