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TN tops national road and bridge rankings report

7:46 PM, Feb 27, 2013   |    comments
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A study measuring the quality of roads and bridges across the country showed Tennessee topped the rankings.

The Reason Foundation's 'Are the Highways Crumbling? State Performance Summaries' study looked at data from 1989 through 2008 in seven categories, including miles of urban interstate highways in poor condition, deficient bridges, and highway fatalities, among others. Tennessee was one of only 11 states to improve in all seven categories.

"TDOT is always looking at ways to improve our roadways, to improve our state highways, our state routes," said Mark Nagi, the Region One Community Relations Officer.

The report found the number of interstates in poor condition dropped 16 percentage points, the 5th greatest improvement in the nation.

Bridge deficiency also ranked high, 9th in the country, as the number of bridges that need improvements fell over the last two decades from 40.5% to 17.7%.

"The goal for TDOT is to be the best DOT in the entire nation," said Nagi. "And remember we're also one of only five states in the entire country that operates without debt. There's a lot of states that have to deal with that on a daily basis, but at TDOT we don't have to deal with that."

Several recent bridge projects include Henley Street in Knoxville, Highway 33 in Union County, Wolfe Creek in Cocke County, West Allen's Bridge Road in Green County.

West Allen's Bridge Road is near the final phases, as the road will shut down for about four weeks starting Monday, March 4th, so crews can construct the path to tie in the new bridge. By April , Nagi expects the new bridge to be open for drivers, as crews will tear down the old bridge, which was built in the 1970s and has a low weight limit and structural deficiency.

While Tennessee improved in all categories, the report showed the weakest as highway fatalities. The state ranked 23rd, higher than national average.

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