Drivers worried about safety, stability of I-70 bridge - KCTV5

Drivers worried about safety, stability of I-70 bridge

Posted: Updated:
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Labor Day weekend is a busy time on highways with so many drivers heading out to area lakes and other getaways. Many drivers are concerned that one particular bridge in Kansas City, KS, that runs over Interstate 70 at the Turner Diagonal is unstable and unsafe.

"I have a 16-year-old that drives it every day. It absolutely terrifies me for her to be driving over it," Christine Bergen said. "It's pretty scary just driving over it or even under it is even worse. It looks like one of the big rocks is going to fall on you."

The bridge looks so beat up because two weeks ago a truck driving with its bed up slammed right into it. Traffic was shut down for several hours as crews cleaned up the mess and assessed the damage. It was reopened and now, with the holiday weekend traffic rush upon everyone, Bergen worries the extra traffic flow could be too much for the ailing bridge and broken concrete.

"What's to say they aren't going to become loose with all the traffic that goes over it and causes a devastating accident to somebody or several vehicles," she said.

Kansas Department of Transportation engineer James Pickett wants to reassure drivers the bridge has been thoroughly tested and continues to be monitored daily.

"I'm a parent, husband and grandfather. We are doing our best to make everyone feel it's safe because we believe it's safe," he said.

Pickett said the vibration is very minimal on the bridge and the concrete that appears to be loose is actually being held up by the rebar and other reinforcement. He also said Friday the shop drawings were approved on the construction of the new girder that will replace the broken section.

"The thing I'd like to remind everyone is this has been inspected by multiple people. Several opinions from (Kansas) Turnpike (Authority) and KDOT and feel like it is stable. We don't want to put anyone at risk," Pickett said.

KDOT said it appears the repair work will probably occur in the month of October. Drivers will use an alternate route when that happens.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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