Chattanooga region has some bridges on 'poor' condition list but Tennessee says all are safe

TDOT monitoring underwater conditions for State Route 60 bridge over Tennessee River

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Tennessee Department of Transportation workers settle poured concrete for a back wall for the U.S. Highway 27 bridge over Big Soddy Creek on Thursday, May 20, 2021 in Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.

After a crack in the Interstate 40 bridge over the Mississippi River in Memphis shut down one path over the nation's largest river earlier this month, a natural question comes to mind: What's the condition of bridges in the Chattanooga area?

According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, most of Southeast Tennessee's major bridges spanning large bodies of water or major traffic thoroughfares are in good shape, but there are a few bridges with issues, such as the State Route 60 bridge over the Tennessee River between Meigs and Rhea counties.

Tennessee is ranked 10th in the nation for number of bridges, with nearly 20,000. Tennessee inspects all state- and locally-maintained bridges, whereas other states only inspect the state-maintained bridges. In Tennessee, there are 8,400 state-maintained bridges. The remainder are locally maintained.