NCDOT: Flyover bridge wall at I-40/I-440 that appears to be leaning is just an ‘illusion’

Driving You Crazy

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A new flyover bridge in southeast Raleigh is getting some attention for all of the wrong reasons.

A concerned driver believes the wall holding up the new flyover bridge traveling from Interstate 40 east under it at Interstate 440 west is slightly leaning. CBS 17 took those concerns to the North Carolina Department of Transportation to get answers.

Marty Homan, a spokesperson for the NCDOT, said it appears to be leaning because the wall is on a curve and presents a bit of an illusion.

“The wall has been inspected several times over the last year and we have found no issues to date,” said Homan.

Robert Bullock, resident engineer overseeing the I-40 widening project, said they did hear from three or four people over the last year about the bridge, but stressed it is safe for drivers to drive over and under.

“We continue to monitor it like we do a lot of the walls to make sure we don’t have any issues,” said Bullock.

He said between the wall being built on a slight curve, the roadway itself on a curve, and the structure being so tall that there are two or three visuals going on to make it look like it may be leaning a certain way or curving more than it should.

“The first part of the wall, sort of the wings area, the part as you are coming up, the contractor did build it a little straighter, so there is a slight turn some people notice, but other than that, that’s what creates some of that illusion, a visualization as of why it may seem to lean forward,” said engineer Robert Bullock.

He stressed that it is safe for drivers to drive over and under the new flyover bridge.

CBS 17 reached out to the NCDOT to see how often new bridges and structures are inspected and if the number of inspections the flyover bridge wall has undergone is normal.

An NCDOT official told CBS 17 that, “The bridge was continually inspected, as all bridges are, throughout the construction process,” and that they received two or three calls or questions about the wall and went back out to “review” the wall each time they received a question or concern.

Asked if they were satisfied with the final product despite what the NCDOT called an “illusion,” the official said they are happy with the wall.

“NCDOT is satisfied with the final product of the flyover bridge as it meets the design criteria, meets safety criteria, is functionally sound, and successfully serves the needs of the interchange,” the official said.

The NCDOT did say that part of the wall cap was “built a little straighter than planned” and said it is “only a visual issue. While not perfect, it is not as much of a mistake as a challenge of curving the coping to match the precast…wall panels.”

If you have something driving you crazy on the roads and you want CBS 17 to get answers, email Laura Smith at LSmith@cbs17.com.

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