A 16-foot chunk of flat steel that separated from a joint in the Interstate 39-90-94 bridge across the Wisconsin River as a result of wear and tear, according to Columbia County’s assistant highway commissioner.
“It’s not the first time that a bridge joint has come apart like that,” T.O. Boge said of the damage that caused problems in the center and right southbound lanes of the bridge. “It was a little abnormal in that it was a 16-foot chunk that got bent around.”
Several vehicles sustained flat tires, but no injuries were reported.
County highway crews began closing lanes and detouring traffic through Portage to work on the problem about 3 p.m. The repair was completed by 7:30 p.m.
Problems with such finger joints in the bridge occur two to three times per year, Boge said.
The repair was complicated because the steel was bent, he said. The highway repair crew cut the steel into smaller sections, straightened it, then replaced it in the joint.
Source: Portage Daily Register, www.wiscnews.com/pdr.
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