TDOT conducts regular inspections to keep bridges safe - WSMV News 4

TDOT conducts regular inspections to keep bridges safe

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A TDOT inspector wades in a creek to inspect a bridge in north Nashville. A TDOT inspector wades in a creek to inspect a bridge in north Nashville.

How safe are those bridges you're driving over?

Two emergency shutdowns on I-40 in downtown Nashville have raised some serious concerns with local drivers.

Falling concrete forced the Tennessee Department of Transportation to close part of a busy downtown bridge twice in two weeks.

Turns out that's not the only bridge in need of repair.

Five Midstate TDOT crews carry a load of responsibility.

"The main danger is just having the pothole and the concrete falling on the traffic below," said Mason Pitt, a team leader for TDOT bridge inspections.

TDOT checks on thousands of bridges that take you across creeks and hold cars up over your head.

On Friday, Pitt and his team were inspecting the Audrey Baker Memorial Bridge in north Nashville.

"It was built in 1940 and rehabbed in 2010," said Pitt. "Repairs seem to be holding pretty good."

Earlier this month it was a different story on the I-40 overpass at Charlotte Avenue.

"They went out immediately and tried to fix it," said Pitt. "A section of concrete fell to the bottom."

The interstate was shut down for 12 hours for emergency repairs.

Pitt said TDOT was aware of the issues with the Charlotte Avenue overpass, before the recent problems.

"It had been noted before in inspection reports," said Pitt.

Pitt said a citizen's call prompted the immediate closure.

He said problems can often pop up or become more severe between inspection periods.

There are more than 19,000 large bridges and overpasses in Tennessee. Officials said each bridge gets inspected at least once every two years.

But the Charlotte Avenue overpass isn't the only problem area.

"They've got about 30 bridges we're rehabbing now," said Pitt.

TDOT has been doing bridgework along I-40. Part of the reason is Tennessee was the first state to complete its interstate system.

"We have the oldest interstate bridges and interstates," said Pitt.

Officials said there's no threat now.

"They're all safe as far as I'm concerned," said Pitt.

Don't expect this to be the last roadwork in our area.

TDOT said more repairs are scheduled for the Charlotte Avenue overpass in the coming year.

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