‘Mistakes happen’: MDOT explains bridge crash
SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - After an excavator caused damage to the I-675 bridge in Saginaw County, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) said repairs won’t start until after Labor Day at the earliest.
On Monday, Aug. 28 shortly before 2:30 p.m., an MDOT truck hauling an excavator hit the bottom of I-675 on Washington Avenue near the Dow Event Center.
An MDOT official explained when she thinks repairs will happen and what caused the crash.
“Mistakes happen, we’ll make mistakes. Contractors make mistakes. Consultants make mistakes,” said Jocelyn Garza, MDOT’s Bay Region communications representative.
An excavator became lodged under the Henry G Marsh bridge on Monday during a crash, and Garza shared what caused the shocking scene to happen.
“We had a crew that was hauling rented excavator equipment and did not properly note the exact height of the load that they were carrying,” she said.
Crews assessed the damages Monday evening and determined two steel beams under the bridge were severely damaged.
Garza said the steel beams will have to be heat straightened, which is a process that could take longer than just a couple of nights to finish.
“When you’re working with steel and this heat straightening process, you can’t really blast these beams with as much heat as possible and then bend them back into whatever shape you want them to be. There’s a process of slowly heating the beams up enough to be able to gently move them back into alignment,” she explained.
The one silver lining from the incident is MDOT crews will be able to complete repairs themselves, which helps speed up the scheduling process.
“We’re very fortunate at MDOT that we have that statewide bridge unit. They’re the group that travels to anywhere in the state that we need them when we have issues like a bridge hit,” Garza said.
She said she feels confident about Monday night’s bridge damage inspection and said the bridge doesn’t have any concerns of falling.
Coming up on a holiday weekend and moving into the future, Garza expects traffic congestion could cause some frustration.
“While everyone might be tired of seeing orange barrels, they’re not going away just yet. So, people really need to be conscientious of that over the next couple of months,” she said.
Although there isn’t a set timetable for repairs yet, Garza said another assessment is needed by the specialized bridge crew.
Repairs could begin in early fall.
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