Memphis city council votes against closing Scott Street Bridge as it’s being repaired

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Businesses in Binghampton are breathing a sigh of relief after Memphis City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose shutting down the Scott Street bridge and repair it instead.

Local business owners say the federal and state government would be responsible for repairs to the bridge, while the city could install a new traffic signal on Poplar.

“It’s been a great relief for that to happen,” said Norris Bruff. “This area has been abused before, and it doesn’t need to happen again.”

There’s no doubt the Scott Street Bridge, which is nearly 100 years old, needs some work. For a while, it was scheduled to get it, at the state of Tennessee’s expense, as part of a reconstruction project for the neighboring Poplar Avenue viaduct.

But within the last couple of years, local business owners say City of Memphis engineers recommended the connection to Scott Street be shut down entirely, due to potentially unsafe conditions.

 “It’s no more accident prone at Scott and Poplar than Tillman and Poplar or Collins and Poplar. It’s just not true,” said Norris Bruff, of Chickasaw Lumber.

Residents and elected officials say shutting down the bridge would cut off this Binghampton neighborhood’s access to crucial services and resources of the city.

It would also make emergency access significantly more difficult.

“If you live at the south end of Scott Street and your house is on fire, you do not want to wait for that fire truck to go around and wait for you. And if you live at the south end of Scott Street and you have a gun to your head and you need MPD to get to you, you do not want to wait for them to have to go around. This is very simple,” said Councilman Ford Canale.

There is no timetable for when repairs to the bridge would begin.

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