Repairs will be done to the bridge this weekend when traffic is at its low point. Northbound lanes on I-15 at 500 South will be reduced to two lanes beginning at 8 p.m. Friday evening, followed by the closure of all lanes under the bridge at 10 p.m.
UDOT wants motorists to know there is no danger of the bridge collapsing.“The structure of the bridge has never been in danger of failing,” UDOT Region 1 spokesperson Vic Saunders said Wednesday.
Debris from the bridge began falling onto 500 South on Monday afternoon, causing immediate lane closures as crews began temporary repairs.
A motorist called 911 when he saw concrete falling to the road. The Utah Highway Patrol, UDOT and engineers decided the steel structure of the bridge was stable at that time.
Saunders said the problems with the bridge “really took us by surprise.” He said bridges undergo a yearly inspection, so officials aren’t sure what caused the flaking or “spalling,” but they believe weather, the freeze-thaw cycle may have played a role in it, as water from the recent rains would collect and freeze under the bridge.
While a timetable hasn’t been set for a bridge replacement, Saunders said, “Anything we do is in preparation to replace the bridge.”
He said repairs made this weekend will be preventative maintenance to insure debris doesn't fall from the bridge onto vehicles.
Built in the late 1960s, the bridge is among the oldest in the I-15 system and is reaching the end of its life span.
Saunders said he couldn’t say when the bridge may be replaced, but it may be moved up because of the incident. He added the timelines for many road projects are in flux right now.
Saunders said that since a bridge collapsed on I-35 in Minnesota in August 2007, the federal government has made more money available for bridge repairs and replacement.
The 500 South bridge replacement is planned as a portion of the work on the I-15 corridor to improve freeway capacity, Saunders said.
He said the availability of federal money means that some projects, especially those of an emergency nature have been moved up from their original timeline, and others have been moved back.
Those trying to get around south Davis County this weekend should be aware of detours. These include:
• Eastbound traffic on 500 South will either be diverted along 800 West in West Bountiful to 400 North, where it will continue eastbound to US 89, or on to southbound I-15 via the southbound on-ramp.
• Westbound 500 South traffic should detour on to US 89, or to northbound I-15 via the northbound on-ramp.
• Southbound traffic on I-15 intended for eastbound 500 South should use the US 89 exit (exit 317).
• Westbound traffic on 500 South from southbound I-15 will be unaffected by this closure.
During these lane reductions and closures the Legacy Parkway restriction on trucks may also be lifted.
It is expected that all lanes will be clear and traffic flowing nominally again in time for the Monday May 4, morning commute.
Saunders said motorists traveling on northbound I-15 or on 500 South should slow down, be aware of their surroundings, and pay strict attention to detour signs.
Local residents may hear some construction related noises or feel minor vibrations during the completion of these repairs.