JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – More than two dozen sections of Interstate 26 are currently home to busted cable barriers in Northeast Tennessee, according to Tennessee Department of Transportation records.
TDOT reports it sent out a work order for at least 25 repairs Friday. State records show the agency sent out the work order almost a month-and-a-half after it last asked its contractor to fix broken cable barriers.
“When we receive word that a cable barrier is damaged or destroyed, the contractor is notified,” TDOT spokesperson Mark Nagi said. “Typically it takes a month or less for the barrier to be replaced.”
Nagi said TDOT relies on its maintenance crews and the public to alert the agency of broken cable barriers. The state installed the safety devices more than a decade ago in hopes they would help prevent cars from crashing into oncoming traffic.
A 20-year-old walked away from a crash on I-26 in Johnson City Saturday night without any injuries, in large part because a cable carrier stopped his car from even more danger, Johnson City Police Department Lt. Becky West said.
“It kept him from going into the opposite lane into oncoming traffic,” she said.
TDOT reports it spends nearly a half million dollars a year paying a contractor to fix the cable barriers. TDOT records show that contractor’s repaired more than 40 sections of I-26 over the last two months.
Of the 25 sections of broken cable barriers currently on I-26, 15 are on in the westbound lane. Washington County is home to the most damage with 11 sections of cable barriers in need of repair, according to records.
The owner of R.D. Construction, the contractor for cable barrier repairs, said he expects to start repairing the broken barriers later this week and into next week.
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