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Large piece of concrete comes loose on new bridge over I-40

This decorative bridge piece on the Robinson Street bridge over I-40 lifted and engineers do not know why (Phil Cross/KOKH).

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation made repairs to one of the state’s newest bridges following a FOX 25 Investigation.

The repairs reset a large piece of concrete that was part of the Robinson Street Bridge over I-40. The concrete was part of the decorations on the bridge and not part of the actual structure.

However, the bridge is just five-years-old and cost taxpayers $4.8 million. After being notified by FOX 25 the ODOT sent an engineer out who determined it was not a threat to drivers passing below.

“The rebar is stable and is holding the concrete piece on so there is no imminent danger,” said ODOT spokeswoman Brenda Perry. “Our engineers feel very comfortable with that, but it is something they are going to need to reset.”

ODOT has no idea how the piece came loose.

“We can't tell that anything has been hit up there so we do not know what is causing this,” Perry said.

According to ODOT engineers, the rebar is set in the bridge wall and the decorative piece has holes drilled in it which set on top of the wall and rebar. In this case, the piece moved up and stopped when it hit another decorative piece of the metal railing.

Because the bridge was so new and there were no issues reported on it, we asked ODOT if there would be additional hands-on testing or inspection of similar decorative pieces on other bridges crossing I-40.

“We feel like the crews going out and being mindful of this and checking some of the area bridges like they do on other bridges will be sufficient to make sure that there are no other loose pieces.”

However, current ODOT inspections did not discover this potential hazard.

ODOT said it repaired the bridge Thursday morning, by “adjusting” some PVC and setting the piece back on the bridge rail. The repair initially sat the piece back onto the rebar and the piece will have industrial silicone put around it that ODOT believes will be stronger than what was in place.

The agency still does not know what caused it to pull up, but Perry said engineers do not believe it is a design flaw in the bridge.

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