BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Crews work through the weekend to get a major road back open. Interstate 70 west has been shut down since Friday afternoon.
Linh Bui reports workers found a crack in a beam that holds up the bridge.
State highway officials say they inspect Maryland bridges at least every two years. This one was built in 1965 and now needs urgent repairs.
Sky Eye Chopper 13 captured the traffic nightmare during Friday rush hour.
“They shut down the bridge. They shut down all access to that bridge,” Captain Jeff Long reported.
Interstate 70 westbound over the Patapsco River is still closed at the Baltimore-Howard County line after workers made a startling discovery.
“One of our paint crew members realized that we had a small crack in one of our girders,” said Chief Engineer David Coyne, Maryland State Highway Administration. “So we immediately called our inspectors and realized in the interest of public safety, we wanted to close the bridge and further investigate.”
The emergency closure caused major gridlock. Traffic was backed up for miles.
“It’s really miserable. It’s taking me about two hours to get home from work when it usually would take about 20 [minutes],” one driver said.
Drivers, stuck and frustrated, were forced to take alternate routes.
“In order to get back to 70, you have to take 695 south,” a worker directing traffic said.
Traffic was much lighter Saturday, but cones and detours were still in place. A state trooper was keeping watch.
Crews are still inspecting and repairing the beam in hopes of getting I-70 back open in time for rush hour on Monday morning.
“We’re optimistic we’ll be able to finish this repair over the weekend and have traffic open,” Coyne said.
Over the weekend, crews are also inspecting the parallel bridge on the eastbound side.
While repairs are being made, officials recommend drivers use Route 40 or Liberty Road.
For the latest traffic conditions, click here.
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