Concrete again falls from I-40 downtown, TDOT plans repairs - WKRN News 2

Concrete again falls from I-40 downtown, TDOT plans repairs

Posted: Updated: Sep 12, 2013 02:47 PM CDT

Concrete falling from a bridge again led to lane closures on Interstate 40 in downtown Nashville overnight Wednesday.

The two left lanes of I-40 West were closed for more than eight hours as workers made repairs to the bridge over Charlotte Avenue.

This is the third time since early August crews have had to make repairs to the bridge.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation said wear and tear from traffic and the recent rain contributed to the falling concrete but added the bridge remains safe.

The assistant chief engineer for TDOT said the bridge, which is about 46 years old, is a seven on a scale of one to 10 when it comes to safety.

"The strength of a bridge comes from the steel in the bridge," David Layhew told News 2. "The concrete is there to make the surface smooth for the motoring public."

Deanna Lambert, a spokesperson for the TDOT, said the department is aware that the stretch of I-40 is in desperate need of repairs.

A major bridge overhaul project is budgeted for next summer and in the meantime, a plan is in place for a more semi-permanent fix.

Lambert said she hopes to have those repairs, estimated at $500,000, completed in the coming months.

Those repairs will require closing the bridge completely over a weekend so crews can cut out the deteriorating concrete and replace it with new concrete.

The project is meant to stop the loss of concrete until a large scale replacement of the bridge deck can be completed.

The more permanent repairs will involve closing the interstate at I-40 and Charlotte Avenue for close to 10 weekends, from Friday night to Monday morning.

The project will be much like similar work done on I-24 last summer.

"We continue to monitor it everyday and if we get to a point where we think it is unsafe we will do something about it," TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said. "We are taking all the precautions we need to make sure the bridge is safe."
He continued, "You don't shut down a bridge like that unless it is unsafe."

The complete bridge overhaul is included in a larger $40 million bridge replacement project that includes the repair of bridges on I-40 at Charlotte, Herman, Clinton and Jo Johnson.

The project is slated for completion in 2015.

Drivers along I-40 at Charlotte would like a replacement faster, rather than risk more damage to vehicles because of the crumbling infrastructure.

"I will definitely be on the look out," driver Emma Applebone said. "It is something I would not even think about and it is not my job to think about."

Applebone travels under the Charlotte Avenue bridge frequently.

"It just takes one incident to see something like that and you dot want to go under there ever again," she said.

Glenn Pugh also said he will be more mindful of the bridge's condition when going under it in his car.

"Now that I have heard it happened this morning I will be looking up when I drive under there everyday," he said. "I hope [Tennessee's] insurance is paid up."

TDOT installed a plywood shelf under the bridge to catch any falling concrete before it reaches the roadway under the bridge.

Maintenance crews check the bridge daily for defects.

The latest closure was sparked by one of those bridge checks Wednesday afternoon.

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