Road closed as chunks of concrete fall from bridge during morning rush hour

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WISH) A Department of Public Works engineer spent well over an hour pulling concrete chunks from the underneath side of the Raymond Street bridge that crosses over Madison Ave. They said the bridge is safe, but for how long?   

For the better part of the morning, the northbound lanes of Madison Ave. just south of Raymond Street were closed. Turns out, chunks of concrete fell into traffic. Jean Fannon lives right down the street and says she will be looking for another road to get downtown.

“I will not go that way now. No, I will avoid it” Fannon said.

The concrete shower that rained down onto traffic this morning had drivers slamming on their brakes. The owner of this car was rear ended as he attempted to avoid the slowdown and the concrete. 

The DPW put an engineer in a bucket truck and had him pull as much loose concrete from the bridge as he could. The engineer would not provide their name to News 8. In the hour or so he was there, he pulled, poked, and prodded the bridge underbelly looking for failing concrete. The spoils of his labor covered the roadway and was eventually thrown off to the side.  

“I’m not an engineer, so I don’t know how it needs to be fixed but it definitely needs to be fixed” Kai McLaughlin said. He lives in a neighborhood close to Madison Ave. and has been concerned about the older bridges on the southside of town 

“Well, I noticed a lot of bridges in the area are missing concrete, so I know it has fallen and you know, [the] drive through here everyday worries me, ya know. Is that going [to] fall on me or somebody else,” McLaughlin said. 

Looking at the bridge, the exposed rusted metal that once held the concrete in place is exposed in many areas. Purdue university professor Julio Ramierz has spent his professional life in the study of concrete. He says concrete starts to fail when the reinforcement is exposed to water, vibration, and other environmental factors, like Indiana winters. Inspections are key to the life of the bridge.

“But if you don’t provide it with adequate maintenance and inspection, then it can lead to situations where the deterioration reaches a point where intervention is required,” Ramierz said.

There is an intervention of a sort planned.  The city says the Raymond Street bridge over Madison Ave. is scheduled for repair work starting in two weeks. According to the Department of Public Works website, the city has almost two million dollars set aside for repairs.