I-40 Overpass To Receive Structural Repairs

Expected To Cost Hundreds Of Thousands

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Interstate 40 overpass that was hit by a tanker truck will need structural repairs that will be paid for by the insurance company of the business at fault.

On Monday, the Tennessee Department of Transportation was ordering materials and developing a plan. The Chief Engineer said repairs would take about eight weeks to repair the bridge once construction starts. 

In the meantime, big steel beams are helping hold the bridge up since it was damaged Friday night.

It reopened the next morning, but closures are expected during the repair construction.

The initial crash closed a portion of I-40 and I-65 for nearly 20 hours. A semi carrying a construction tanker didn't clear the bridge and was wedged between the overpass and roadway.

Charles Wren of Gray, Kentucky was driving for DG Equipment Movers and had a permit from the state to drive through West Tennessee but not downtown Nashville. 

Tennessee Highway Patrol officers cited him with three misdemeanors. They said Wren's load was overweight, over-height and over-width, in addition to the fact that he did not have the proper endorsement on his commercial driver's license to be hauling the vehicle.

He was driving from Arkansas back to Kentucky where DG Equipment Movers is based according to authorities.

On Monday, we called the trucking company to ask why their driver took a different route and they would not comment. 

The TDOT Chief Engineer estimated between the manpower used Friday, and the repairs, it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix. 

Paul Degges said, "Basically we're pulling the old design out from when the bridge was originally built, it was built in the 1970's so we're going to have to come through and remove a lot of the deck off the bridge."

Taxpayers will have to deal with the pain of lane closures, but TDOT said DG Equipment Movers' insurance company will foot the bill.

Degges said, "Typically we don't have to sue anybody if the insurance company or the owner pays the cost then we're made whole. If they won't pay, then we will through the attorney general's office, file suit against the company." 

TDOT believes it could be several months before repairs start. 

Degges said, "You can't just go to home depot and buy a new bridge beam. So we'll have to get all of the specifications, get a new beam manufactured, then have it put in on sight." 

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