DOT determines bridge over WIS 20 is structurally sound

RACINE (WITI) -- The harsh winter we've seen this year may be to blame for shutting down a portion of Highway 20 for about three hours on Monday, March 10th. A section of the I-94 bridge came crashing down onto the highway below.

The concrete did not hit any vehicles or people -- and the repair work was fairly minor, as the bridge is coming down this summer.

Motorists looking to travel on Highway 20 underneath the I-94 overpass had to make a quick detour on Monday morning. No vehicle was traveling that route for a few hours as crews made repairs to the bridge.

It all started around 10:00 a.m., when Racine County Sheriff's officials reported a piece of concrete had fallen from the overpass. Highway 20, underneath the bridge was quickly shut down for inspection and repair.

Crews soon learned a 20-foot-long, two-by-four-inch piece of concrete had fallen.

"Basically where the two bridges meet, you'll have almost like two seams that connect together -- so if you're looking at it here, underneath the bridge, kinda in the middle," Brian DeNeve with the DOT told FOX6 News.

DeNeve says the freeze-thaw effect on the seams from this winter's weather has contributed to the incident we saw on Monday morning -- but says the piece will not be replaced.

"This damage has been basically shown to be cosmetic. It is not structural, so there's no danger to the integrity of the bridge. There is no danger to the strength of the bridge," DeNeve said.

The other reason for not replacing the concrete piece is the overpass is coming down this summer, and will be replaced. It is part of a large construction project that starts in a few weeks.

DeNeve says it is very unlikely that more concrete would fall before the bridge comes down.

One reason for that is because highway workers took tools and hammered along the span of the overpass to make sure there weren't any other loose pieces of concrete.

All lanes on WIS 20 have reopened at Sylvania Avenue in Racine following the bridge maintenance.