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New cracks found on Clearwater's Memorial Causeway Bridge

This crack is one of several found on the underside of the Memorial Causeway Bridge.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

This crack is one of several found on the underside of the Memorial Causeway Bridge.

CLEARWATER — State transportation officials have found more cracks in the concrete on the Clearwater Memorial Causeway but said there is no immediate threat to anyone's safety.

The department sent workers to look at the bridge after a St. Petersburg Times photojournalist earlier this month noticed several openings under the bridge on the mainland side. The cracks, about 3 feet long and several inches wide, appeared to have a substance leaking from them.

Bridge engineer Pepe Garcia said workers recently "found other similar cracks," on the bridge, but that they were "not of a nature that would give us concerns."

At least not right away. But the cracks will be studied and fixed within the next year, Garcia said.

Because workers could see the cracks do not pose any structural problem for the bridge, they will be handled like other forms of routine maintenance.

Garcia said the next step would be to carefully inspect the bridge to see if water from some point higher up is leaking into the places where cracks have formed. He compared this to a leaky roof — the leak in the roof itself is not necessarily the same place where the water starts dripping through the ceiling.

Next, workers will check to make sure water has not reached and damaged any of the metal reinforcing structures under the concrete, and clean them out if necessary.

After that, some sort of simple repair is likely, Garcia said. "Eventually, if nothing else for aesthetic purposes it'll be patched," he said.

New cracks found on Clearwater's Memorial Causeway Bridge 08/27/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 29, 2008 3:18pm]
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