St. Louis Public Radio News
Fri February 19, 2010
Interstate 64 exit ramp safe despite crumbling concrete
By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis – The Missouri Department of Transportation says there is no structural damage to an Interstate 64 exit ramp that shed pieces of concrete in downtown St. Louis Thursday night.
No one was injured by the chunks of concrete that fell from the eastbound 64 ramp to 11th Street, but cars in a parking lot below the ramp suffered some damage. MoDOT has suspended the leases on the lots it owns, and is contacting the owners of other properties under the ramp. The lot where the cars were damaged is owned by the city of St. Louis, and leased to S&H Parking. The company says it will not park cars on the ramp until repairs are made.
District engineer Ed Hassinger said it's not uncommon to see the crumbling, or "spalling," in late winter.
"We did have issues with water that seeps over the edges of the bridge and gets into the cracks on the outside edge of the concrete deck, and the freeze-thaw is popping those off," he said.
Crews are well aware of the dangers falling concrete can present to drivers, Hassinger said. They are looking for any additional pieces that might fall off the 11th Street exit, as well as evaluating all bridges and ramps that are about the same age.
"When it happened a couple of weeks ago, we looked at every bridge of this age on I-70 and in fact looked at this very bridge that we are talking about today, and this problem just doesn't present itself as obvious all the time," Hassinger said. MoDOT found no structural damage to the Poplar Street Bridge, which shed chunks of concrete onto the lanes of Interstate 70 three weeks ago.
Hassinger said the state will use some of the money from a Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission grant awarded Friday to repair the concrete edges on I-64 between 7th and 11th streets. Repairs to the rest of that highway, and others with the same problem, will require more money.