Very little is known about this old bridge that was rediscovered in 2008 when Chilhowee Lake in Tennessee was drawn down for repairs on the nearby dam. Nobody knows when it was originally built or by whom. But once the waters receded, some of the original roadbed including this remarkably intact bridge came into view.
A few foundations from the original routing of US 129 North—part of the famous “Tail of the Dragon”—were also exposed as the waters receded. Located just to the south of the underwater bridge, the section of road known as the Tail of the Dragon was famous for being one of the curviest roads in North America, featuring no less than 318 curves in an 11-mile stretch of road.
When the lake was created by the Chilhowee Dam in 1957, a higher, elevated section of US 129 was built and the lower roadbed with the original bridge over Abrams Creek was flooded over and deserted. Many hundreds of thousands of visitors have come to this area never knowing that there was a hidden treasure submerged in the lake, and most locals had completely forgotten about the old bridge.
The lake was refilled after the maintenance work, and now the bridge’s home under the waters of Chilhowee Lake made it only accessible to fish—and a few bits of discarded junk and stolen cars. (As it happens, when the lake was drawn down in 2008, numerous stolen vehicles were found by the local sheriff’s office.) The bridge has been made visible only a couple of times since its rediscovery, most recently in 2015. Its condition is remarkable considering it’s spent over 60 years underwater. All of the guardrails are intact, and the deck seems like you could drive a truck over it now.
The old bridge is currently visible on Google satellite maps too!
Know Before You Go
The bridge is located at the crossing of US 129/TN 115 at Abrams Creek. Eagle-eyed visitors may spot the outline of the bridge under the waters when the lake is filled. There are several spots to pull off to the side of the current routing of US 129 near the new Abrams Creek bridge.