VDOT looking at making changes after beam falls on 95

Source: Eileen Pitts, Facebook
Source: Eileen Pitts, Facebook

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – All southbound lanes of I-95 are back open now, hours after a metal beam fell into traffic.

It happened shortly after 3:00pm Wednesday afternoon near the Diamond stadium exit. One woman ran into the beam with her car, but the beam did not fall on any cars. That woman was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and is expected to be okay.

In the meantime, VDOT is now looking some new ways to keep this from happening again. We investigated to find out what may be done.

When you drive down I-95 in Richmond, you see the construction. You see these beams popping out of the ground. But you don't expect them to come crashing down at you.

Today one did, narrowly missing these cars and the people inside. One woman did run into the beam. But she's okay.

During today's work -- no lanes were closed, until the crash.

"Typically, when we do work on the shoulder, that doesn't impact travel. We don't close any lanes," says Dawn Eischen with VDOT.

Well that soon may be changing, and it's not the only idea on the table. Everything is, including the equipment used to do this work for the bridge restoration project, up and down 95 in the city.

"We will scrutinize every piece of equipment even more so now," says VDOT Bridge Project Manager Scott Fisher.

The teeth on a green machine, used to drive these beams into the ground, seared off this afternoon. That caused the beam to come crashing down. The green machine is new. Just three days on the job.

"This is certainly something we don't want to happen again and we are going to do everything we can and talk about in a meeting on what can be done to prevent this," says Eischen.

The work to set these beams into the ground is suspended at all spots in Richmond until an investigation is complete. That could last until next week.

One thing that won't change is the bridge restoration project set for this weekend on the Laburnum Bridge. That work will go on schedule this weekend, so expect major delays.

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