An alarming new study shows more than 55,000 bridges in the United States are considered structurally deficient.
The study is from the American Road and Transportation Builder’s Association.
The report includes nearly 1,000 bridges in Tennessee in need of attention and 12 of them are in Hamilton County.
The bridge on Interstate-24 over Germantown Road ranked one of the worst in the state. It’s number 9 on Tennessee’s list.
But the Tennessee Department of Transportation says some of the information in the study could be outdated.
"Sometimes it could be that we've already repaired the bridge or it could be that it's slated for repairs in the near future,” TDOT Spokesperson BJ Doughty told Channel 3.
For instance, the department repaired the I-24, Germantown Road bridge in 2016.
The bridges at Highway 27 and Martin Luther King Blvd. in downtown Chattanooga are also identified in the study. They are in the process of being replaced as part of a major reconstruction project that’s currently underway.
Structurally deficient doesn’t necessarily mean a bridge is in danger of collapse but it could mean the overall structure is in poor condition or part of the bridge has deteriorated.
TDOT inspects the state’s more than 20,000 bridges every two years and has an “aggressive repair program,” according to Doughty.
“When they do inspections, they are taking photographs, measurements and they are tracking the rate of deterioration,” said Doughty.
If TDOT believes a bridge is unsafe for people to drive on they won’t keep it open. “We will close it,” Doughty assured people.
The state is looking over the study and making sure they’re aware of any bridges that need to be fixed.