The big rig driver whose truck slammed to a stop after smashing into an overpass on I-40 near the Adventure Science Center has been cited by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Sgt. Charlie Caplinger says the driver struck the bridge around noon, causing structural damage that will take months to repair.
"Upon investigation, the driver was found not to have proper endorsement on his drivers license to be operating the type vehicle that he's operating," Caplinger said. "The driver does not have a permit to be in this area."
The driver works for DG Equipment Movers out of Kentucky. The company had a permit to move the oversized load through West Tennessee, but not anywhere near Nashville, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, which issues the permits.
Traffic Update: 65N traffic into downtown is being pushed to 40E at 40 split. 40E traffic on west side of bridge must exit on 65S. pic.twitter.com/sKhZrV7voL
— myTDOT (@myTDOT) April 27, 2018
TDOT is making emergency repairs and hopes to reopen the two heavily-traveled sections of roadway sometime Saturday, though a timeline has not been laid out.
TDOT will have to replace a 12-foot section, but chief engineer Paul Degges says inspectors believe the overpass is not going to collapse and will be able to handle a couple of lanes of traffic, once a few emergency repairs are made overnight.
"We have redundancy built in this bridge," he says. "This bridge has five beams underneath it. Only the exterior beam has been damaged. So the other four beams provide that redundancy that allows the structure to still carry the loads that are safe for traffic."
TDOT held a news conference Friday during what would have been rush hour, standing in the middle of the interstate. The traffic-snarling incident hit on a key weekend, with a Nashville Predators playoff game followed by the Rock 'N' Roll Marathon on Saturday morning.
Commissioner John Schroer notes that the accident's location is backing up traffic across all of downtown. But it does provide drivers alternative routes.
“We’re really fortunate that it happened where it did," he says. "We’re not fortunate about the time. This is a busy weekend for Nashville and everybody knows it. So we ask for your patience.”