By Elaine Owen, Editor
Police in Tennessee say one person has been injured when a section of a concrete wall on an interstate highway bridge collapsed and hit a car.
Chattanooga police said on Twitter the section fell Monday (April 1) from an overpass on southbound Interstate 75 in Chattanooga onto a northbound I-75 interchange with I-24. Police tell the Chattanooga Times Free Press the injury was not believed to be life threatening.
Traffic was rerouted off I-75 in both directions as highway crews worked to remove the concrete section.
Tennessee Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jennifer Flynn says that while the bridge did not collapse, “the railing fell off for some reason.”
The bridge collapse took place at the Interstate 75 North and I-24 West split, according to Chattanooga police. The railing from I-75 fell onto the I-24 ramp, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said on Twitter the I-75 and I-24 split is “one of the most heavily trafficked intersections in the country.”
TDOT said on Twitter the ramps to both interstates were expected to open Monday night, but permanent repairs “will take weeks.”
The Tennessee Highway Patrol said Monday evening the I-24 westbound lanes at the interstate split had been reopened. The I-75 southbound lanes were still closed as of Monday night.
Investigators are trying to determine what caused the collapse. Officials said that it’s possible an oversized truck hit the railing and knocked it off, but so far no such vehicle has been found.
The Chattanooga Fire Department tweeted photos of the incident that showed a blue car crushed by giant slabs of concrete.
The bridge was built in 1959 and was last inspected in July 2018, according to a TDOT National Bridge Inventory and Appraisal Report obtained by the Fannin Sentinel.