The $9.4 Million Bypass/Sky Bridge to Nowhere

6990_nERWIN — The Erwin bypass/bridge is complete at an estimated cost of $9.4 million.

The railroad overpass project has been ongoing for two decades and was completed this week. The project connects Tenn. Highway 107 to Main Avenue through the construction of a one-half mile “bridge” that will pass over the CSX railroad tracks that cross Second Street. Years of random complaints about traffic delays due to trains crossings on Second Street are the justification for the $9.4 million.

The overpass allows motorists to bypass the potential train delays and downtown Erwin to get from Main Avenue to Second Street, and vice versa. It does not seem to matter that you can avoid the traffic jams by driving south and/or north in minutes to bypass the train related delays.

Drive the bypass and you will enjoy a breath taking view of the Town of Erwin and the mountains. One obvious observation was startling, the bypass takes you away from downtown, a location where millions have been spent to attract folks downtown.

Of course, local officials were excited about the project being completed. These are the same officials who spent millions of taxpayer dollars on remodeling downtown Erwin in hopes of attracting people to downtown. You can toss fiscal responsibility out the window when it comes to the inconvenience of folks waiting a few minutes for a train to pass. Is the expenditure of $9.4 million justification for the demand for self-satisfaction and self-indulgence? Seems this money would have been more wisely spent for a worthwhile cause like providing the 280,000 Tennesseans with health insurance or providing needy Tennesseans with SNAP food assistance – but no, according to Republicans… that would be wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars.

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