TDOT INSPECTS CHATTANOOGA LOCAL HIGHWAY BRIDGES
The bridge fire that shut down I-85 in Atlanta for a time, has prompted TDOT to take a closer look at local highway bridges.
Experts on that fire in Atlanta say that even intense heat from a fire can break down the fibers of steel-enforced concrete.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation tells us what they’re doing to prevent a situation like that from happening here.
Department of Transportation Spokesperson Jennifer Flynn says the TDOT crew spent Friday working on prevention measures.
“TDOT doesn’t allow material to be stored underneath their bridges on a permanent basis. However, that does not mean sometimes there might be a case where someone that is not us… would put something under one of our bridges.”
She says nothing has been found so far, but if they do – the crews would be instructed to immediately remove it – and to report it, especially if its a hazard.
When it comes to regulations, she says that there is some leeway that can vary from state to state.
“Each department of transportation can determine their own rules and regulations to an extent. We’re all governed by the highway administration.”
Flynn says the Georgia Department of Transportation may have been storing material under the bridge for convenience or to save money on storage fees.
“I’m sure all the departments of transportation in the country will be looking closely at this incident and seeing what can be done to prevent something like this from happening again.”
Federal transportation officials have awarded $10 million dollars in emergency funds to help repair that collapsed section of Interstate 85 in Atlanta.
Experts says it may take several months for that bridge to be rebuilt.
The cause of the fire still has not been determined.
Flynn says all states comply to national standards when it comes to building bridges and roads.
She says they get inspected every two years for safety.