What are the Most Dangerous Vehicle Bridges in TN?
Plenty of factors can make driving a dangerous activity in Tennessee and across the country. Reckless drivers can make bad decisions that result in severe consequences like car accidents. Adverse weather conditions can reduce visibility and make the surface of the road slipper, causing drivers to lose control. Large vehicles like commercial trucks can make it difficult to navigate on multi-lane roads due to less available space for maneuvering.
Operating a large piece of machinery on the road in close proximity to others will always involve risks. One piece of infrastructure that can increase the risk factors of driving is a bridge. Whether they are passing over waterways, roadways, train tracks, or other obstacles, bridges create a unique passageway that can alter the natural flow of traffic.
Risk Factors of Bridges
There are multiple reasons why bridges can present an additional danger to both drivers and pedestrians. There are three main elements of every bridge. The substructure is the support for the construction. The superstructure is the main body of the bridge. The deck is the surface on which vehicles and pedestrians may travel.
The construction of the bridge is significant in terms of potential dangers. Older bridges may become structurally deficient over time as the weight-bearing structure weakens. However, there could be plenty of reasons why a bridge is determined to be structurally deficient that isn’t always impacted by age. A bridge made primarily of wood could be rickety and make driving very dangerous. Large amounts of wind could affect the stability of a tall suspension bridge. A minor earthquake or tremor could affect the integrity of the substructure, no matter how new it is. Additionally, a collision involving large vehicles could compromise the foundation or the superstructure. A crack could also form in the deck after prolonged use. All these circumstances could lead to a weakened construction that is more dangerous to drivers and pedestrians alike.
Traffic Pattern Changes
Bridges are constructed in a way to streamline traffic over an obstacle, but they also have to be able to bear the load of multiple vehicles. For this reason, traffic patterns may change between the regular roadway and the bridge. This could cause confusion among drivers who may have to merge quickly or switch lanes. The result could be a vehicle accident involving multiple cars.
Chain Reaction Collisions
Bridges leave little space to maneuver and create very compact traffic patterns as a result. If an accident occurs on a bridge, it could set off a chain reaction of multiple collisions since vehicles cannot navigate off the road to avoid others. This also demonstrates the other danger of being on a bridge, which is being very close to falling off. Losing control while driving on a bridge could lead to a fatal fall off the side into a waterway or onto the ground.
Most Dangerous Bridges in Tennessee
For drivers moving through the state of Tennessee, there are multiple bridges that they may encounter which could present one or more of the risks listed above. Here are a few of the most well-known bridges in the state that could be dangerous for you and your passengers.
I-24 Over Mill Creek Near Nashville
Combining heavy traffic with recent signs of structural deficiency, the I-24 bridge over Mill Creek might be considered one of the more dangerous in the state. Although being labeled as structurally unsound does not always mean that there is imminent danger, it does mean that it will eventually need to be fixed. Add to this the high volume of commuter traffic that passes over this roadway every day and you have a potentially risky situation for drivers. High traffic means not a lot of space to maneuver, so you could be in danger of a chain reaction accident even if the original collision occurs somewhere else on the bridge.
I-40 RI Over 17th Street in Knoxville
Very near to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, the I-40 bridge over 17th street is a high-traffic roadway that has recently undergone repairs to the structure. Even with the necessary fixes in place, it is still a roadway that can be packed with commuters, students, and gameday fans when the Volunteers are playing big games. This high volume of traffic can make it a dangerous location.
Easley Ford Road Over Conasauga River
The risks of this bridge come mainly from its narrow deck. This small span that is east of Chattanooga is fine to drive over in most circumstances. However, if another vehicle is coming in the opposite direction or the weather has created a slippery surface, then it could be risky to pass over this roadway.
I-24 Over I-24 West Ramp/Branch
Another instance of heavy traffic combined with recent classifications for structural deficiency, this bridge in southeastern Nashville is another potential danger area for drivers in the state of Tennessee. With well over a hundred thousand vehicles using this bridge every day, there is plenty of potential for accidents.
Have You Experienced an Accident While Crossing a Bridge?
Whether you get into a collision involving other vehicles or pedestrians, it is important to know what steps to take after a car accident on a bridge. The best way to defend your rights is to hire a motor vehicle (or pedestrian) accident lawyer who can help you navigate any insurance claims or injury cases that may result from the incident.
Accidents that occur near bridges or as you drive over the deck can be very scary since they could include falls from significant heights. Serious injuries or even death may occur. If you aren’t sure what to do in the aftermath of a bridge accident, contact a lawyer quickly to discuss your case and figure out the best way forward.