Repairs made after bridge causes flat tires

Several drivers were left feeling a little flat Friday morning after a protruding piece of the Interstate 68 bridge crossing Cheat Lake punctured the tires of multiple vehicles traveling westbound. 

According to Mike Daley, West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) District 4 manager, at around 9:30 a.m. Friday, part of the expansion joint on the bridge separated, causing a piece of steel to pop up, impacting vehicles traveling westbound in the right lane.  

Bridge expansion joints are designed to allow for continuous traffic between structures while accommodating movement, shrinkage and temperature variations. Basically, they stop the bridge from bending out of place in extreme conditions in addition to other uses. 

WVDOH bridge crews responded to the scene, closing the lane as they worked to replace the expansion joint. The left lane remained open. 

Daley said crews cut the old expansion joint out and welded a new expansion joint in its place. The right lane was reopened late Friday afternoon. 

The total number of vehicles left with flat tires is unclear, but around 30 were reportedly affected. 

A similar problem occurred in September 2020 on the Uffington Bridge on I-79, which also caused a few flat tires. That issue required additional repairs after an initial fix, but it is unclear if further work will be needed on the Cheat Lake bridge.