Bridge to remain closed indefinitely
By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor
NASHVILLE – Wednesday during a routine inspection of the Cordell Hull Bridge in Smith County, Tennessee Department of Transportation crews discovered a crack in a steel member underneath.
The bridge was built in 1934. The 24-inch-long crack is located in a fracture-critical member of the truss. The bridge, which had already been closed to traffic for inspection, will remain closed indefinitely out of an abundance of caution.
Structural engineers will evaluate to determine the overall condition of the bridge and its load-carrying capacity based on the inspection data. It’s not uncommon for inspections to reveal issues that need further evaluation.
This isn’t the first time that the bridge has been closed for structural issues. The bridge was closed in 2007 when a routine TDOT inspection found the superstructure was in critical condition.
Repairs began in August 2011, and they replaced all of the concrete bridge deck and guard rails. The remaining truss, lattice work and rivets were preserved with blast cleaning and then painted white replacing the familiar green hue. A ceremony was held to officially reopen the bridge on July 2, 2014.
During the closure, motorists can utilize Upper Ferry Road or U.S. Hwy 70N to the SR 25 Bypass bridge as an alternate route.