Many bridges in Tennessee considered unsafe, need repairs

Unsafe or dangerous roads and bridges can be very risky for motorists in Tennessee. Unfortunately, Tennessee has many bridges that are dangerous to drive on. Federal data shows that at least a dozen bridges in the state are deteriorated and could collapse. 

There are over 85,000 bridges in the United States that are considered to be unsafe and in need of repairs or replacement. Federal data shows that 65,605 bridges are listed as structurally deficient and 20,808 bridges are classified as fracture critical bridges. That is a lot of bridges considered to be unsafe, but do the classifications mean and what makes a bridge dangerous?

Bridges listed as “fracture critical” means the bridge has a risk of collapsing if one vital component of the structure fails. “Structurally deficient” bridges need repairs or replacement of materials due to the bridge having advanced deterioration or other issues that make the bridge unsafe.

Tennessee has 64 bridges considered to be both fracture critical and structurally deficient, according to Tennessee’s Department of Transportation. The department said 57 of those bridges have already been repaired, replaced or are currently under construction.

While it is good news that the state has already fixed or is in the process of fixing these deficient bridges, several bridges may still be unsafe or become deficient in the future. Bridges that need repairs or replacing can be very dangerous for motorists.

Structurally deficient bridges have led to bridge collapses in other states, resulting in several fatalities and many injuries. Dangerous road conditions, including deficient bridges, increase the chances of being in a car accident and there is not much drivers can do to prevent these accidents from happening.

That is why it is important for Tennessee’s DOT and the federal DOT to accurately monitor and inspect bridges and make any necessary repairs as soon as possible to prevent any harm to the public.

Source:¬†Knox News, “Tenn. working to replace, repair worn-out bridges,” Lucas L. Johnson, Sept. 15, 2013