All I-75 ramps open after partial bridge collapse

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — All of Interstate 75 is back open after a guardrail fell off the overpass and into the road.

Half of the 75/24 split was closed for hours. Crews are still on site right now trying to repair the damage done.

The investigation continues into what caused the collapse and the hours long delay for travelers.

“There’s no reason for us to expect this to happen. The bridge was in good condition,” TDOT’s Steve Hutchings said.

Around 11:30 Monday morning, part of the I-75 south overpass in the split fell, blocking I-75 North below.

According to the TDOT bridge inspection from July of last year, the bridge was rated as structurally fair, with minimal problems common for bridges of similar age.

The guardrails were rated as “good.”

“We’re going to have our contractor that’s already under contract to do the interchange here, begin work on that immediately. They’ll have to first get the beam fabricated. We’re looking at maybe 3 to 4 weeks to have that top one open to lanes,” Assistant Chief Engineer Joe Deering said.

The blockage had ripple effects causing major delays all over the Chattanooga area.

“I thought it was going to be a smooth ride,” said Marcellus Shead, who’s travelling home from Orlando. “My GPS said it was going to be a smooth ride to Nashville, no traffic. But then a bridge collapsed, so now here I am, stuck at a rest stop.”

However, the traffic could have been worse.

THP Lieutenant John Harmon says traffic volumes were smaller thanks to the Georgia Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol using signs and social media to alert travelers.

FreightWaves also says the time of the year helped eliminate large trucks on the road.

“We’re in the quietest freight period of the year, typically. So in terms of a good time for this to happen if there is such a thing, this would be it,” said Dean Croke, FreightWaves’ Chief Insight Officer.

All thoroughfares are open as of 10 p.m. Monday. The I-75 south overpass towards Atlanta will remain one lane until permanent fixes can be made.

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