The I-65 bridge over the Tennessee River in Morgan County is busy. Drivers in their cars and big rig trucks are going 70 miles an hour or faster. The congestion, the speed and other factors lead to wrecks on the bridge. The latest, just a few days ago. A truck almost went through the guard rail, and work crews are making repairs.
Retired Marine Major Terry Smith says the I-65 bridge needs help, "There's no place to go. I mean, if somebody starts piling up on the bridge, it's a wonder we haven't had more piling up than we've had. It's a dangerous situation."
Compounding the problem on the bridge is drivers who go different speeds. "It appears to me when people hit that bridge, they either get petrified and they slow down to way below the speed limit, or they see a chance that there's no way a highway patrolman is going to catch them on that bridge and they go too fast," says Major Smith.
The state already has signs at either end of the bridge warning drivers to slow down when it's wet, and warning truck drivers to stay to the right. There are even automated signs these days urging caution.
The question is, what else can be done to make the bridge safer. Terry Smith thinks enforcing a uniform speed limit would be a good first step. Making sure the trucks stay to the right is another. Still, Smith isn't sure those steps are enough.
We're taking action to make the I-65 bridge safer. We're discussing the situation with state officials. With the amount of money spent to fix the bridge over the years because of wrecks, they should also know something needs to be done.