CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - The state road commissioner is in Chattanooga checking up on the safety of bridges, roads and progress on the massive Highway 27 project. Channel 3 took your questions to the TDOT Commissioner.
TDOT is required by law to do regular safety inspections on our bridges and roads. "Seeing how this bridge works gives me kind of an understanding of what really goes on," TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said.
But Sunday's visit didn't start out too well. The Market Street draw-bridge inspection was a no go. It was called off until electricians can re-program its computer controls.
"A transformer blew that caused a power surge and so we're trying to fix some of the electronics on it," Schroer said.
That's not the only speed bump TDOT's hit lately. That $105 million Highway 27 project has forced some re-designing thanks to some unexpected discoveries. "We've had some underground rock creations that we've found and we're working through that," Schroer said.
The completion date was pushed back two months to December 2014. "[We] ran into some retaining wall issues that we're putting more retaining walls in than we thought we were going to do," Schroer said.
With that now figured out, Commissioner Schroer is also crunching some other, very scary numbers: the number of deaths we're seeing on our roads. They're now up to 816 after Friday's tragic accident on I-24.
"That means a phone call needed to be made to a loved one," Schroer said. He says fatalities are up from this time last year and says all drivers need to know that.
"I was surprised at really how high they were," driver Nancy St. Charles said.
Now six months into their plan to display the numbers, he says there's already been a decrease and hopes it will cut down on distracted driving. "I think it makes you think twice about reaching for that cell phone and answering it," St. Charles said.
They have received complaints about the fatality number signs "disturbing" drivers, but TDOT say that's the goal.
As for the Market Street drawbridge, crews hope to repair its computer system in the next couple of days.
They also say winter weather shouldn't impact construction progress on Highway 27.