NewsChannel 11 Investigates: Cracks in the Marsha Sharp Freeway Follow Up - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/31/09

NewsChannel 11 Investigates: Cracks in the Marsha Sharp Freeway Follow Up

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - We told you last week on NewsChannel 11 Investigates about cosmetic cracks in the brand new support columns along the Marsha Sharp Freeway. Many of you were not happy with TxDOT's response and now TxDOT engineers are coming forward to offer more insight. Our investigative reporter Nicole Pesecky has been gathering more details.

By viewer request, we're bringing you more information on the cosmetic cracks on the Marsha Sharp Freeway. Once again, we sat down with TxDOT and, above all, they say these bridges are safe! 

We used our camera to zoom in to get a better look at the cracks. And this time, we showed those pictures to engineers.

When we first aired this story we asked to speak with a TxDOT engineer but were given the spokesperson instead. Dianah Ascencio said, "We really were not aware that you could see these cracks." 

This time we got insight from Douglas Eichorst, a TxDOT district engineer. He says, "When we did this there were some areas that we actually grouted over that crack, which wouldn't have been as visible if we had not painted the structure."

Eichorst explains that the joint under the deck was covered cosmetically with cement then painted. Eichorst explains, "We changed our method throughout the project, and tried to make a clean nice joint."

So why are we seeing these cracks so soon? This area of the Marsha Sharp Freeway just opened to traffic last year. Eichorst says, "The designs are the same, it was how we handled that crack or that joint." He admits they expected to see these cracks pop up and says the cracks are a quick fix.

They are not priority right now though since the bridges pose no threat to drivers. "Either way the bridges are completely safe," Eichorst explains. 

Just to make sure these roadways are indeed safe, we showed the cracks to other engineers from Texas Tech, Dallas and we even went to the Ohio Department of Transportation for answers. Ohio's District Bridge Engineer agreed, "The cracks may be a maintenance or cosmetic issue but pose no threat to the structural integrity of the bridge." All other engineers we spoke with also agreed.

In addition, TxDOT says they won't leave the cracks visible for the next 10 years but when they get the funding to fix them, they will.

3/23/09
NewsChannel 11 Investigates Cracks in the Marsha Sharp Freeway
Drivers have only been taking it for the last year. So why did NewsChannel 11 find dozens of cracks in the overpasses on the Marsha Sharp Freeway? Investigative reporter Nicole Pesecky set out to get answers.

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