Transportation officials in Tennessee are placing the blame on an unknown trucker for a partial bridge collapse that has snarled traffic on a major interstate.
On Monday, April 1, a railing from a bridge collapsed onto I-75 at the I-24 split in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A passenger vehicle was severely damaged during the collapse and one person was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
BREAKING: This bridge collapsed on I-75 South and I-24 West. I can see severe damage to a blue vehicle. pic.twitter.com/hJa37lvmVE
— Taylor N. Stewart (@TaylorNC9) April 1, 2019
Following an investigation into the cause of the collapse, the Chief Engineer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Paul Degges says that a trucker is probably to blame.
Degges says that a truck hauling an oversized load likely hit one of the supporting steel beams under the bridge, which led to the collapse. Because the steel beams appeared to be cut, officials say that a truck strike, as opposed to an infrastructure failure, is the most likely cause of the collapse.
Degges says that the bridge strike could have happened minutes before the collapse or as long as a month before.
TDOT says that they would like to find the truck driver responsible so that they could require the company to pay for repairs, but they aren’t hopeful that they will be successful because their interstate traffic cameras do not record video and did not capture the moment of impact.
No witnesses to the suspected truck strike have come forward at this time.
WRCBTV reports that Tennessee officials are not actively looking for the truck driver responsible.
For now, crews are still working on repairs to the bridge. The bridge is set to be replaced in the fall.
TDOT reports that 50 Tennessee bridges are hit by trucks each year.