OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -- Part of a major Olathe construction project is on hold because drivers reported concrete falling from the 119th Street bridge down onto I-35 below it.
Several concerned drivers called police to report falling concrete debris and took to social media to warn others. One person reported that they saw baseball sized chunks of concrete falling from the bridge.
Yesterday around 5 p.m., 911 dispatchers answered calls from drivers near the 119th Street bridge and I-35. “Southbound I-35 at 119th looks like there is chunks of concrete falling from the bridge,” a dispatcher said to officers. “We’ve had a couple callers. Cars are getting hit trying to dodge the falling debris.”
Olathe’s Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Cody Kennedy says the city received four reports of minor damage to vehicles traveling on I-35. He says the largest reported debris was one half inch.
Kennedy said, “All work over I-35 will not resume until additional measures such as falsework and additional protection under the working areas are installed. Any work that involves heavy machinery, milling or overlay has been halted. Typical hand equipment involved in patchwork does not create issues.”
Based on bridge inspection reports before construction, Kennedy says debris was not anticipated and unforeseen circumstances are being addressed.
As part of the $25.4 million I-35 and 119th Street Improvement Project, a diverging diamond will be added to decrease high accident rates and improve traffic capacity. The crash rate is 11 times the national average for comparable interchanges.
The 119th Street Bridge closed for construction starting June 1. It was expected to be closed for 90 days.
Drivers can report damage from falling debris to the Olathe City Clerk’s office or fill out an online tort claim form.