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Safety signs added to bridges
River project stage three1.jpg
James Corley hangs a four-digit sign along the Barren Fork River. Signs were placed on trees at each mile along Warren County’s river system. In case of emergencies, that code can assist emergency responders in location efforts. Signs can now be seen on bridges.

An effort to improve safety for river enthusiasts has been expanded. Tennessee Department of Transportation has allowed the placement of safety signs on bridges located over rivers in Warren County.

“We finally have three parts of the Rotary River Rescue System,” said Rachel Killebrew, who expressed gratitude for TDOT’s participation. “We need everyone to stay safe by being vigilant on the river and watch for the signs. You will be fine, just check the signs. My granddaughter Katy Denton came up with that slogan.” 

The Rotary River Rescue System project began several years ago with the placement of signs on trees at every mile along the river. Those signs provide a four-digit code that can be used by E-911 dispatchers to pinpoint location and assist in a rescue, if one is needed. 

Example: CL03 is Collins River three miles from the mouth of the river, while BF05 means Barren Fork River five miles from the mouth of the river.

Next came signs at every public access area in Warren County and at the private access area at Smooth Rapids. Those are informational kiosks, placed as an Eagle Scout Project by Hannah Bailey, which contain maps of the rivers and a four-digit location code. Before accessing the river, review the sign and remember the code.

Bridge signs were posted on the bridge below the road visible from the river. Those signs also contain the four-digit location code, as well as the name of the bridge and the name of the river. 

“Thank you to Keaton Kell, from TDOT, who volunteered to hang those signs,” said Killebrew. “Fifteen bridges now have them permanently mounted with only five left for him to hang. Please remember the sign information for your safety, so that emergency responders can find you quickly.”

McMinnville Breakfast Rotary has been committed to cleaning Warren County’s rivers for the last 14 years – all 100 miles of it. However, a dramatic increase in river users prompted the organization to also begin a safety program with the help of the E-911 Center and Warren County Rescue Squad.