People react to partial bridge collapse

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — People used to responding to crashes or investigating them are reacting to Monday’s partial bridge collapse.

At Doug Yates Towing and Recovery they are used to responding to wrecks on the interstate, like when an 18 wheeler turns over.

On Monday, they were called to the partial bridge collapse at the I-75, I-24 split. They used this rotator for the job.

“The bridge beam that fell was in a critical position where it could fall and endanger someone. Instead of lifting the bridge beam off of the pedestal. We decided that the safest way to do it was wedge and let it fall and hit the ground,” said Shannon Yates, with Doug Yates Towing and Recovery.

This was a rare call for them.

“We do strange type of recoveries all of the time in this business. We don’t just tow trucks, you know. We do a variety of things. Yes, it is strange. It is unique, but it is not something that we are not prepared for,” Yates said.

Jim Hall, the former NTSB chairman, is used to looking into cases that are like this or worse.

“Anytime it occurs and the NTSB responds there are usually multiple fatalities. SO although this was not a total collapse of the bridge, but an important part of the structure, we were very fortunate in Chattanooga that there were no lives lost and I certainly hope the individual who was injured in this incident has a speedy recovery,” Hall said.

He says a number of recommendations have already been made when it comes to problems with bridges and infrastructure across the country.

“I think anyone who drives knows that we are not properly investing in our highway system,” Hall said.

As for Yates, he is glad the situation wasn’t worse.

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