Deck Truss Bridge Inspections Conducted - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Deck Truss Bridge Inspections Conducted

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Bridges in Tennessee are rated using the same universal sufficiency rating system controlled by the federal government. The Minneapolis bridge collapse has prompted other states to look at their own bridges.

Five people were reported dead, 8 missing and about 100 injured after a Minneapolis bridge that spans the Mississippi River plummeted into the river Wednesday night.

The bridge rated a 50 on a scale used to rate bridges.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation said all of its open bridges are safe, but hundreds have been flagged as "structurally deficient," which means they have some sort of problem.

A low rating doesn't necessarily mean a bridge is unsafe.

In Tennessee, five bridges are made like the one that collapsed Wednesday in Minneapolis. They all have the deck truss construction.  One was inspected on Monday. The state inspected the other four Friday including one on Interstate 40 that runs across the French Broad River in East Tennessee.

In Middle Tennessee, the only bridge built like the one that collapsed is in DeKalb County. It is State Route 56 Bridge over the Caney Fork River.

There are several bridges in Tennessee that were rated worse than the one that collapsed in Minneapolis. But the ratings do not mean that a collapse is imminent.

The Mansker Creek Bridge in Goodlettsville rated a 26.5, but that doesn't mean it's twice as likely to collapse as the Minneapolis bridge. The Mill Creek Bridge on Murfreesboro Road had a 36.8 rating and the Stones River Bridge in Donelson had a 35.1 rating.

The 100-point scale is known as the "sufficiency rating" but only 55 percent of that rating depends on the structural condition of the bridge. Other factors include how important the bridge is to travelers and how useful it is.

The rating isn't created to figure out which bridges are about to fall, rather it is used by states as a guideline as to which bridges need replacement or repairs the most.

"You cannot, in any way, tie the sufficiency rating to whether or not the bridge is safe or not safe," said Ed Wasserman, TDOT director of structures.

The real condition of a bridge lies under the surface and can't be seen from a driver's side window.

TDOT said there are repair and replacement projects underway for most poorly rated bridges.

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