TDOT inspects bridges to prevent issues from surfacing

Posted at 1:54 PM, Apr 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-04 21:12:30-04

FOREST HILLS, Tenn. (WTVF) — Safety concerns have come up after a concrete barrier on a bridge fell onto the the interstate in Chattanooga.

It happened Monday on I-75 to Atlanta at the I-24 West ramp, and one driver was injured.

According to engineers, the bridge collapse in Chattanooga is rare, and was most likely caused by a tractor trailer hauling an oversize load that hit it.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has employees that inspect bridges every day. A lot of the time, they rely on the public to report issues they may notice with a bridge.

Mason Pitt said, "Any time anything gets hit, or we get notified, we’ll go out immediately and perform an inspection, evaluate the structure, make recommendations."

Otherwise, inspections are done every 2 years, and there are roughly 6,000 bridges in the Middle Tennessee area.

Fifty bridges in the state were struck by trucks hauling large loads last year.

On Thursday, a TDOT inspection team checked out the bridge over Otter Creek, which is under Old Hickory Boulevard.

Pitt said, "If it's over a water way, they'll check the stream for scour, erosion, and drift or debris build up, and the stability of the stream as well as the bridge."

Workers showed us the weather-proof steel beams that were installed in recent years.

As far as they could tell, everything looked safe, and there were only minor cracks from concrete settling.

Pitt said, "They do a review of our program every year, we've consistently scored very well and TDOT actually goes well above and beyond the federal minimum."

While safety concerns have come up after the Chattanooga incident, TDOT said they can't do much to prevent it.

Engineers believe an oversize load struck the bridge which snapped steel cables that were holding up the concrete barrier.

As crews in Chattanooga work on a temporary fix for the partial collapse, inspectors here will continue making sure bridges are safe.

If you happen to see a truck hauling an oversize load strike a bridge and leave the scene, make sure you call 911.

If there seems to be an issue with a bridge, you can also contact TDOT.

Crews in Chattanooga are working on a temporary fix. Eventually, the entire interchange will be torn down and redone during an upcoming TDOT project.