1 vote

Interstate 40 French Broad River Bridge



View from other bridge.

Photo taken by Christopher McCarter


BH Photo #143094


Street View 


This bridge has been flagged for demolition and replacement in late summer 2018 by TNDOT.

It is unusual for a bridge to be flagged for demolition by a state agency just months before the demolition is planned. It is even more unusual and insane that the reason given for demolition is outright wrong. The reason given is that this bridge is “like the I-35W Bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis”.

First of all, if properly maintained, bridges like the I-35W Bridge are not at risk. Secondly, this bridge isn’t even that similar to the I-35W Bridge.

It appears that TNDOT is just looking for an excuse to demolish and replace this beautiful deck truss bridge with a mundane concrete and steel stringer bridge like they already did in 2002 with the nearby Swanns Memorial Bridge.


Deck truss bridge over French Broad River (Douglas Lake) on I-40
Jefferson County, Tennessee
Open to traffic
Future prospects
Scheduled for demolition and replacement in late summer 2018
Built 1960; rehabilitated in 2009
Arched warren deck truss bridge
Length of largest span: 312.0 ft.
Total length: 2,416.1 ft. (0.5 mi.)
Deck width: 67.9 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.04132, -83.33580   (decimal degrees)
36°02'29" N, 83°20'09" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/289572/3991056 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
White Pine
Average daily traffic (as of 2015)
Inventory numbers
TN 45I00400019 (Tennessee bridge number)
BH 43044 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of July 2016)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 68.5 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • April 24, 2018: Updated by Amanda: Bridge is slated for demolition and replacement in late summer 2018
  • September 27, 2012: New photos from Martha Carver
  • September 25, 2012: New photo from Martha Carver
  • July 21, 2009: Added by Christopher McCarter


  • Christopher McCarter - cmccarternx01 [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Martha Carver - martha_carver [at] bellsouth [dot] net


Interstate 40 French Broad River Bridge
Posted January 26, 2019, by Brianna Tarness (briannatarness82 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Well, this bridge is safe... at least for now. The planned demolition of this bridge over the summer was blocked/halted/postponed/whatever, meaning the bridge is still intact. However, it’s days are numbered as construction of the substructure for a replacement bridge is slated to begin in March or April 2019 (this coming spring). The design of the replacement bridge is either going to be a haunched girder or a modern truss of somesort, so at least they’re not tearing this down and building a UCEB, but whatever final design they choose will be worse than the current bridge, especially given the hideous replacement of the Swann Bridge that crosses parallel to this bridge, which is a UCEB.

Interstate 40 French Broad River Bridge
Posted September 16, 2018, by Brianna Tarness (briannatarness82 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Current plans appear to be to replace this bridge with a “haunched girder bridge” that apparently will be “like the Sam Rayburn Bridge over the Clinch River”, which is also on I-40. However, as we saw with the Hulton Bridge in PA, and the Fort Stueben Bridge in WV/OH, even an “attractive” girder bridge or cable-stayed bridge, while better than an outright UCEB, still cannot replace the geometric beauty of an historic truss bridge.

Interstate 40 French Broad River Bridge
Posted April 24, 2018, by Matt Lohry

I can certainly say that I'm not surprised--TDOT should be renamed TennDOT, since it rhymes with PennDOT, and their level of care for their historic bridges are right on par with each other. They are on a crusade to destroy every last truss bridge in the state, and at the rate they're moving, it will be a very short time before they accomplish their goal. It's a good thing that Tennessee has plenty of natural beauty, otherwise there would be little reason to visit.