TDOT: 4 bridges impacted by flooding ‘damaged beyond repair'

Bridges will remain closed until new structures can be built
waverly flooding damage august 2021
Posted at 9:48 AM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 23:30:24-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Four state-owned bridges that were impacted by the recent deadly flooding in Middle Tennessee were “damaged beyond repair” and will have to be rebuilt.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation shared the update Tuesday after more than a week of surveying the damage, clearing debris and making repairs.

TDOT said the following bridges will remain closed until new structures can be built. Repairs could take up to 12 months.

  • Humphreys County SR 230 Bridges over Hurricane Creek & Overflow – will remain closed
  • Hickman County SR 230 Bridge over the Piney River – will remain closed
  • Humphreys County SR 1 Bridge (Westbound Only) over Trace Creek – will remain closed

"Most of these bridges were designed before 1960 So these are pretty old structures," said Paul Degges, TDOT chief engineer.

When the rain came down in Humphreys, Hickman and surrounding counties it flooded communities and washed up everything in its path.

"You know with up to 17 inches of rainfall in that area; the Piney River, Hurricane Creek, along Trace Creek, a lot of these other streams they're flooded pretty significantly," Degges said.

After clearing debris, making repairs, and surveying damage to all the state roads and bridges in the flood areas, TDOT crews determined three bridges in Humphreys County and one in Hickman County were damaged beyond repair.

"Typically, we design bridges for a 100-year flood and we designed the footings for a 500-year flood. But that's today, you know back in the 1950s, the technology just wasn't as good as it is today," Degges said. "This type of rainfall I'm hearing reports it was like a thousand-year flood so it, it just it statistically it rained a whole lot more than these bridges were really probably designed to withstand."

Bridge scouring and roadway erosion are just a few signs of damage along the bridges that sit above the flooded creeks and river.

According to TDOT, the State Route 230 bridges over Hurricane Creek and overflow, which counts as two structures, have “major bridge scour” and roadway erosion.

The SR 230 Bridge over the Piney in Hickman County has “significant damage” to its piers due to debris and scouring.

They said a fourth bridge, SR 1 over Trace Creek in Humphreys County, needs “significant repairs” but only to the westbound side, which remains closed. TDOT said there is scour under the pier, resulting in bridge settlement. Those design plans are ongoing. All traffic is being diverted to the eastbound side of the twin bridge, which TDOT said is safe.

TDOT said seven other locally owned bridges in Humphreys will remain closed until repair and/or replacement contracts can be put in place:

  • MM 5.23 East Blue Creek Road over Blue Creek
  • MM 4.26 East Blue Creek Road over Blue Creek
  • MM .17 Weed Lane over Blue Creek
  • MM 6.56 Bold Springs Road over Hurricane Creek
  • MM 5.45 Trace Creek Road over Trace Creek
  • MM 1.04 Bateman Branch Road over Bateman Branch
  • MM 4.14 Indian Creek Road over Little Hurricane Creek

Twenty people died when catastrophic flooding hit the region on August 21. In some areas, 17 inches of rain fell in just hours, causing devastating damage.