Concrete beam falls on car near Paul Brown Stadium, ODOT investigates

Concrete beam falls on car near Paul Brown Stadium, ODOT investigates

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is investigating a beam that lost chunks of concrete on Sunday, falling onto Bengals fans' car while he was at the game.

Jeff Brothers of Amelia parked his car in a lot owned by Longworth Hall on Sunday afternoon to attend the game. He returned to his car after the Bengals victory to find the windshield of his 2008 Ford Fusion smashed by concrete debris that appeared to have fallen from the exit ramp that leads from the bridge to downtown Cincinnati and Interstate 71.

"What if somebody was sitting in there? It could have been real bad. Could have been taped off for a lot worse reasons that this," said Andy Brothers, the owner of the car.

Cincinnati Police Officer Ken Hall, who responded the scene, said he thought vibrations from a train passing near the beam - may have contributed to shaking the concrete loose from the beam, causing it to fall onto Brothers' car.

"It's just sometimes things break and crack and deteriorate and so that seems to be the case in this situation," said Brian Cunningham with the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is currently performing its annual inspection of the Brent Spence Bridge, and has checked out the area where the concrete came loose.

Cunningham says inspectors came by Monday to take a look at the pier but a scaffolding company tells FOX19 NOW they were hired by ODOT to put up scaffolding last week so inspectors could take a look before the game on Sunday. Even portions of the concrete that fell appeared to be marked with black 'x''s.

"If there was a safety issue that would be addressed immediately. My understanding is that it wasn't a problem with the integrity of the structure," said Cunningham. "When our inspectors are looking at it today, they will make sure there is nothing else that could be a hazard and will take care of that."

Brothers received a rental car on Monday while his car is repaired, and while he said his insurance is covering the damage, he is looking to filing a claim with either Longworth Hall, who owned the lot, or ODOT.

This is not the first time concrete from the Brent Spence Bridge has fallen.

In June 2011, chunks of concrete fell from the upper deck of the bridge onto the lower deck, which kept the bridge shutdown in both directions for hours while crews worked to clear the debris.

Although the Brent Spence Bridge is classified as functionally obsolete, which means that although it considered structurally sound, its design does not adequately meet the needs of the bridge and cannot be easily modified to meet them.

In the case of the Brent Spence Bridge, while the bridge's double deck was initially designed to carry up to 85,000 vehicles per day, approximately 172,000 vehicles use the bridge daily, according to the group Brent Spence Bridge Corridor.

Other safety concerns, such as the lack of a shoulder for emergency situations, have also been of concern in recent years. If an accident occurs on the bridge, there is no safe place for a vehicle to pull over, which could lead to a further hazardous situation as motorists must make their way around the accident, also causing further traffic delays.

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