ALDOT Inspects Bridges in Wake of Minnesota Tragedy - Montgomery Alabama news.

ALDOT Inspects Bridges in Wake of Minnesota Tragedy

It all happened in an instant.   The I-35 W bridge in Minneapolis crumbled to the ground, taking motorists with it to the depths of the Mississippi river.

In the aftermath of such a horrific event, Alabama residents wonder if their own roadways are safe from collapse.

Three bridges in Alabama have a "steel deck truss" style like the bridge in Minnesota.   One spans the Tallapoosa River on Highway 14 in Tallassee.  Another bridge crosses the Coosa River on Highway 22 in Chilton County, and a third was built on the Tennessee River on Highway 14 in the Shoals area.

With pressure from Governor Riley and the Federal Highway Administration, Alabama D.O.T. workers were out in full force Friday, inspecting the integrity of the bridges.  

The department's spokesman says everything checked out fine for all three structures.

"Inspectors have been on all three bridges today, and every indication is that there's no problems with our bridges," ALDOT's Tony Harris explained.

Though some bridges, like the Fitzpatrick bridge in Tallassee, may be of similar construction, they see far less traffic.

The Fitzpatrick bridge only sees about 13,000 cars per day.   This is a far cry from the traffic on roadways in big cities.

"Those are smaller numbers compared to what we see with an interstate bridge [that is] eight lanes wide," Harris said.

Still, a bridge collapse on such a massive scale leaves some room for concern--especially since many bridges in the state have been around for generations.

However, ALDOT says safety on Alabama's bridges should never be a concern.

"If we have any reason to believe, any reason at all, that a bridge is unsafe, there's no question to what we would do.   We'd either take the traffic off that bridge and fix it, or we'd put weight restrictions on the bridge," Harris explained.

Harris also tells WSFA 12 News us that the term "structurally deficient," which has become sort of a buzzword in the media lately, is only used as a classification for federal funding and a way to figure out which bridges are next in line for replacement.

Harris says the term is not used as a way to condemn the bridge for destruction.


Reported by:  Cody Holyoke


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