Viral photo shows bridge deteriorating, Iowa DOT: it's safe - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Viral photo shows bridge deteriorating, Iowa DOT: it's safe

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Some drivers are questioning the safety of a bridge in eastern Iowa.

A picture being shared on social media appears to show a southbound Interstate 380 bridge deteriorating over Hawkeye Downs Road in Cedar Rapids.

"That is not safe. That's not safe, it's about to crack at any time," said Evelyn Pagan after we showed her the picture.

"I'm not a structural engineer, but it looks unsafe to me," says driver Duane Ewing. "I don't want to drive over it, and I have to drive over it every day. At least once a month you hear about a bridge collapsing in this country. This thing needs to be fixed fast."

Every driver we showed the picture to was not only concerned that the bridge could be crumbling, but for their safety.

"I think they need to fix it ASAP. It's people's safety, lives," said Heather Dietz. "I have two kids, and by the looks of it, it's not safe at all."

So we took the picture and drivers' concerns straight to the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Cathy Cutler, a transportation planner, admits the bridge needs repairs, but says it's still safe to drive on.

"It's not a very pretty-looking damage to the bridge, but we do want to assure the public that there are no safety issues," said Cutler.

She say it's a cosmetic issue, and they've actually known about the needed repairs since 2013.

The DOT says there are more than 60,000 people that drive on the bridge every day.

It was built in 1975. Typically, a bridge's lifespan is 50-70 years old.

Cutler says the joints of the bridge are getting water in them, collecting and dripping down where it shouldn't, making it look like the bridge is not structurally sound. However, she said the bridge is indeed safe.

She adds the abrasive chemicals street crews use on the interstate over the winter can be damaging. She says the picture shows the concrete cracking, which is just an outside surrounding the the actual structure holding the bridge.

Drivers aren't reassured.

"You don't know when that think is going to fall down," said Pagan. "Just get it together and get it done."

Cutler says this is not the first time the DOT will have to make repairs to the bridge. She says back in the 1990s, bridge crews had to pretty much make the same repairs it currently needs.

"Like everything else -- everything gets put on wait until something bad happens and then everybody reacts," said Pagan.

Cutler says bridge crews inspect bridges at least once every two years.

The DOT says it actually went for bids on the needed repairs in April, but bids were too high.

Cutler says drivers won't likely see any improvements on the bridge until late this year or early 2016.

"We appreciate the public bringing it to our attention, but this one we had known about and already had a repair in progress," said Cutler.

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