ST. LOUIS (AP) — A concrete bridge railing in St. Louis was deteriorating before a car struck it and caused a chunk of concrete to fall, killing a driver below, according to a state inspection report.
City officials on Wednesday released a 2017 report from the Missouri Department of Transportation, which called the underside of the bridge "basically intolerable requiring high priority of replacement."
The inspection report gave the bridge the worst rating possible before the structure would need to be shut down, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Structurally deficient bridges aren't necessarily considered unsafe or likely to collapse. The report's classification indicates load-bearing parts of the bridge had been damaged and required significant maintenance.
A woman crashed into the bridge Monday. The impact caused concrete to fall onto a car below the bridge being driven by Janet Torrisi-Mokwa, 58.
Police and city officials have labeled the incident as "a freak accident," saying both the bridge and intersection were safe.
"If the bridge were not safe to traverse ... we would have closed the bridge," said city engineer Richard Bradley.
The Transportation Department started inspecting the bridge annually instead of every other year after inspectors found "overhead hazards" and "excessive cracking" in 2016. But the almost 60-year-old bridge has been considered structurally deficient by the state since 2005.
The bridge is slated for replacement, but it could take a decade and cost millions, city officials said.
"In order to increase the bridge's structural rating, it would need to be fully rehabilitated," said Koran Addo, spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson.
St. Louis officials haven't released the 2018 report based off an April inspection, which is still under review by the transportation agency.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com