• 'It's gotta get fixed': Channel 9 brings issue of aging Gaston Co. bridge to NCDOT

    By: Ken Lemon

    Updated:

    Channel 9 discovered a problem with an aging bridge on Interstate 85 with more than 100,000 cars traveling there every day. 

    The state said the overpass at McAdenville Road is structurally sound, but we found areas where large chunks of concrete peeled off and fell. 

    Drivers apparently had no idea and neither did NCDOT until Channel 9 told them. 

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    McAdenville Road is a seldom used street, but the stretch of I-85 under it sees around 135,000 drivers every day. 

    Most drivers who spoke to Channel 9's Gaston County reporter Ken Lemon said they have never felt a reason to look up at the bridge. 

    "No, it's something I have not thought about," driver Brooke Deal said. 

    At the average speed in the area, it is hard to see what we found -- cracks in the concrete layered around the support beams and heavy hunks of concrete that fell off the aging structure. 

    The pieces are as large as a brick. 

    "That's crazy. It's kind scary to think you can be driving down the road and a piece like that can come down," driver Kim Mauney said. "That could cause you to wreck."

    [ALSO READ: NC ranks among worst in U.S. for structurally deficient bridges]

    The falling slabs have not caused a wreck yet that Channel 9 could find, but a good reason for concern so Ken brought these concerns to the NCDOT. Now, they are taking action. 

    Officials said the bridge is almost 60 years old, which is part of the problem. 

    "The structure itself is intact," Jennifer Thompson from NCDOT said. "It is structurally sound and it is safe."

    She said pieces of the bridge wore away over time, either by aging or the elements. 

    "You have freeze thaw, freeze thaw and the concrete expands and it can cause some cracking and crumbling," Thompson said. 

    The state inspects 13,500 bridges and checks each every other year. The McAdenville Road bridge was inspected in August of last year. 

    Channel 9 obtained a copy of the inspection and noticed multiple repairs of cracks in the concrete, but inspectors determined the bridge was fine.

    The DOT said the pieces fell sometime after the inspection and it is only happening in the middle of the bridge in the area over the median. 

    Officials said they will be addressing the issue before it becomes something bigger. 

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    NCDOT told Ken they plan to send a crew to the bridge to cover the spalling and areas in danager of spalling late at night. 

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