Monday, October 13, 2014

Chardon Road Bridge Crumbles Over I-271, ODOT Responds After Concrete Crashes into Family's Windshield

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 10:14 AM

click to enlarge Chardon Road, looking onto I-271 southbound.
  • Chardon Road, looking onto I-271 southbound.
WKYC is running the story of a local family who found themselves on the wrong end of a crumbling I-271 overpass last week. Melanda Davis and her daughter were driving when a big chunk of concrete fell off the US-6/Chardon Rd. bridge and through their windshield, injuring Melanda and certainly provoking a bit of trauma. 

(Can you imagine? Can you imagine just driving along the road like you tend to do, passing 'neath a bridge you've passed 'neath so many times, when suddenly a gigantic rock thuds through your windshield? The shattering of the glass rattles your mind, and little cracks spider their way across the windshield in an instant. You instinctively reach out to protect your child or, whichever is applicable here, your dog or your bag of Taco Bell, and your mind is working frantically to process what just happened. What the hell was that? You may be careening toward the shoulder at this point, partially unable to see the road ahead. Oncoming cars are trying to make sense of what you're doing. Why would a driver suddenly veer off to the right? What's going on? You snap back to reality after realizing that, oh geezus, that was freakin' concrete! That's publicly funded property just crumbling into a river of fast-moving, two-ton vehicles carrying PEOPLE! Only then are you sort of checking around for injuries — Is everyone OK? — and, finding that you're not dead or anything, pivoting your anger toward those responsible for this insanity.)

Officials said that concrete has fallen off the bridge before, meaning that this is a known concern. A September 2013 inspection has the bridge in "satisfactory" condition, which just raises more questions than anything. 

Melanda's car was towed, and she was taken to a hospital to have her wrist checked out. Several lanes of I-271 northbound were closed off last night as construction work on the bridge began. 

Here's ODOT's response (ironic emphasis Scene's):
"ODOT sent a bridge inspector to the Chardon Rd bridge over the I-271 southbound Local Lanes yesterday afternoon following a report made by the local police department. The inspection did not reveal any imminent danger of concrete falling. As a precaution, last night ODOT crews closed lanes on the I-271 southbound Local Lanes at Chardon Rd in order to further look at the bridge and perform routine bridge maintenance operations of removing any pieces that could become loose. In addition to that precaution, tonight crews will close lanes on the I-271 northbound Local Lanes at the Chardon Rd bridge starting at 8 pm thru 4 am to perform the same routine bridge maintenance operation of removing any pieces that could become loose."

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