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Westbound I-70 Bridge Reopened After Emergency Repair Work

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Ritchie Rochelle 175x131 L Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After being shut down for nearly 72 hours, the westbound lane of I-70 is finally back open. Crews have fixed a crack in the bridge.

Rochelle Ritchie has details on the urgent repairs.

It’s a welcome relief for drivers on I-70 after Maryland State Highway administrators gave the all clear for the bridge just over the Patapsco River to reopen.

“Westbound I-70 has been open now since about 4 o’clock this afternoon. Our engineering crews went ahead and made the repairs and the manufacturing of the piece that needed to be put in,” said Charlie Gischlar, Maryland State Highway Administration.

That’s a much different story than Friday evening, when the drive home was anything but easy. Paint crews noticed a crack in one of the bridge’s main beams.

“Because of our abundance of safety, we went ahead and closed it,” Gischlar said.

The emergency repairs left drivers desperate for a way out of the evening chaos.

“After you take 695 south, your first exit is going to be Exit 15, U.S. 40 West,” a worker directing traffic said.

The commute was frustrating for hundreds of drivers who drove into an unexpected traffic jam as dozens of people had to detour.

“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 Friday.

Officials with the State Highway Administration are confident the bridge is now safe and is good to go. They say they thoroughly inspect all of their bridges.

“At the minimum, it’s looked at every two years–bridges. That’s a complete inspection,” said Gischlar.

State Highway officials say more than 100,000 vehicles travel on I-70 westbound every day.

Officials say because the traffic volume is much lower on the weekends, it made for a quick repair.

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