Update: Driver in I-75 barrier collapse listed in critical condition Tuesday

(Image: WTVC)

UPDATE:

A local hospital tells us the driver who was injured in Monday's incident is listed in critical condition.

Depend on us to keep you posted on the driver's condition.

PREVIOUSLY:

A former chairman of the National Transportation Security Board (NTSB) says Chattanooga is lucky there wasn't any loss of life after part of an I-75 overpass railing fell into the roadway Monday.

Jim Hall told us he's dealt with the aftermath of several bridge and structure collapses.

In many cases, he says we might still be looking for survivors in the debris.

Thankfully, that's not the case tonight.

"We are a very blessed community that we did not have multiple fatalities. I've been around the country and events like this usually end up with multiple fatalities and a much worse situation," said Hall.

Hall says luckily cleaning up the concrete and finding out what made it fall are thankfully TDOT's biggest concerns right now.

"I know they're going to want to look at this to see if there was any possible corrosion or cement problems, cracks any issues that could cause an event like this, but it's highly unusual. we need to do anything we can to prevent an event like today," said Hall.

One of the worst things that came out of today was traffic.

“We were delayed for like 45 minutes or more," said Brian Vasquez, a Hamilton County Schools student.

Vasquez is just one Hamilton County Schools student whose parents pulled up later than usual.

School bells rang at East Ridge Elementary nearly an hour before he and his little sister headed home.

"She was curious. she was telling us why did we take so long, but we had to tell her there was traffic and we tried to do our best," said Vasquez.

Investigators don't yet know if unsound infrastructure, a collision with the railing, or something else is to blame. TDOT confirms the bridge was last inspected in July of 2018.

"I would be very surprised if there was a problem with this bridge and it did not appear in the report. If it didn't that would be another important part of the investigation,” said Hall.

According to that 2018 report, inspectors made two recommendations: one was to remove loose concrete under the beams, and another was to remove a tree that was causing cracks in the concrete to get bigger. You can read the full report here.

Hall hopes TDOT releases a full incident report to the public soon.

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