I-44 Bridge Ruled Safe

Wednesday, February 7th 2007, 9:30 pm
By: News On 6

A bridge over 161st East Avenue under the I-44 overpass is reopened to traffic after a large chunk of concrete fell from the bridge onto the street Wednesday night.

News on 6 reporter Carina Sonn reports that Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews used a hand chipper Thursday morning to shave off the remaining concrete curbing from the I-44 overpass.

ODOT’s Martin Stewart say it's just a precautionary measure so the events of Wednesday night don't happen anytime in the future. "We don't want to come back out here again so we're going to go ahead and remove what we see and that hopefully will correct any future fallings."

ODOT temporarily shut down one lane of 161st East Avenue Thursday while crews removed about a 12-foot section of concrete. Officials say they'll restore it at a later date.

Wednesday night, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation was called out after part of the outside edge of the bridge fell onto 161st. The largest chunk was about 4 feet long, a foot deep and weighed about 100 pounds. ODOT thinks erosion and an increase in traffic caused the pieces to break off.

There were no injures or damage to vehicles.

ODOT plans to keep I-44 open during the time they're working on the bridge. Transportation officials say that portion of I-44 is due to be torn down and rebuilt, but that is not scheduled to happen until about 2010.