HANOVER, Md. (WJZ) — Emergency action. The state orders immediate inspections of two dozen Maryland bridges. This, after chunks of concrete fall from a bridge and nearly crush a woman’s car.
Christie Ileto has new information.
Katherine Dean had no idea she was driving under one of the state’s structurally deficient bridges until a chunk of concrete smashed her window.
“It scared me so bad, I was trembling,” she said.
Because of this, 27 state-owned bridges similar in age and condition to the one she drove under will be immediately inspected.
“With the freeze thaw cycle of winter, some of the concrete could be deteriorating. They’re going to put eyes on the bridges and then identify any type of repairs that are needed,” said Valerie Burnette Edgar, Maryland State Highway Administration.
“They’re going to be looking at structural distress in the main load carrying components of the bridge. Also, the parapet walls and spalling of concrete–the kind of debris that fell on the car,” said Maryland professor Charles Schwartz.
Schwartz often consults with the Maryland State Highway Administration.
“What they’re really trying to do is prevent a collapse of the bridge,” he said.
This is one of the bridges on the list to be immediately inspected. In some cases, you don’t have to look very far to see some of the trouble spots.
“That’s a hazard to my well-being,” said Woodrow Freeman.
Maryland has over 80 structurally deficient bridges. Almost two dozen of them are right here in our area.
“Which doesn’t mean they’re in imminent danger of collapse, it’s just that they’re sort of on a watch list,” said Schwartz.
On a list for repairs. But these newest precautions are key to stopping the accident that happened to Dean from turning deadly for someone else.
“Motorists should not have to think twice about driving across or under one of our bridges,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn. “These targeted statewide inspections will help us immediately identify any bridges in need of repair, with the goal of preventing what happened on Tuesday from occurring again. I want to extend my sincere apologies to the driver involved in Tuesday’s incident. I am grateful she was not injured.”
State Highway says structurally deficient bridges are inspected every year, while the rest of Maryland’s bridges are examined every two.
Of the 5,300 bridges in Maryland, State Highway is responsible for more than 2,900.