Car hit by concrete by U.S. 50/I-77 bridge

Published: Sep. 18, 2019 at 5:18 PM EDT
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Thousands of vehicles every day pass through the interstate 77 overpass at U.S. Route 50 in Wood County.

But last Friday, a driver from the Clarksburg area had a surprise while headed eastbound on 50 at 50 miles an hour.

"I went under I-77 and as I was starting to come out, something just came down and went 'Ka-Boom', and hit the front hood of my car," Brian Cottrill told our sister station, WDTV.

He says the object was several pieces of concrete from the bridge structure. They dented his car's hood and cracked the windshield.

Workers from the West Virginia Division of Highways this week have been clearing debris from the bridge. While it doesn't know how the concrete was dislodges, it doesn't believe it was from a vehicle striking the span.

"If we have certain kinds of weather conditions or thiings like that, it enhances the probability of things like that happening," says Keeling Fife, District 3 Bridge Engineer.

Fife says inspectors check bridges occasionally for anything that might pose a hazard to motorists. But he says the public also can help.

"We have had some issues where someone has called and said, there's a piece somewhere on some bridge that's going to fall off. We'll certainly investigate that and try to take care of it."

Damage to Cottrill's car is estimated at less than $3,000. He's glad the concrete chunks fell where they did, but that it was close.

"West Virginians deserve better than this. We shouldn't have to worry about bridges coming down on us," Cottrill said. "It could hurt somebody. You might think this could happen on some little road in the middle of nowhere, but this is the main intersection of two highways."

District 3 Engineer Justin Smith says repairs to the bridge overpass are planned, but could not name a date for when that work might begin.