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Overpass investigation to last for months

Tana Weingartner
The I-75 off-ramp overpass collapsed Monday night near Hopple Street.

The Ohio Department of Transportation says the field review of the Interstate 75 off-ramp collapse took less time than expected, meaning the clean-up and repairs were finished sooner than anticipated.  ODOT spokesman Brian Cunningham says the only damage to the four southbound lanes of I-75 was a two-foot by two-foot hole.

“Speculation was there were going to be multiple areas that would need to be fixed.  And that just wasn’t the case,” Cunningham says.  “And so when the assessment was done, it was evident that there was just one particular area that had damage to it.”

With that patched, the highway reopened Tuesday night.

Cunningham says the dismantling of the off-ramp from northbound I-75 to Hopple was part of a highway widening project.  “We’re going to be taking a look at the overall schedule which is on pace to be concluded, as calendared, in July of 2016 for the entire project,” he says.  “That remains the case as of now.” 

The overpass removal was scheduled to last until Thursday or Friday night.

Monday night's collapse killed construction worker Brandon Carl of Augusta, KY.

Cunningham says ODOT does not have investigative authority so the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be providing the final report on what happened.

A spokesman for OSHA says inspectors are out again Wednesday talking to witnesses and the contractor.  Scott Allen says, by law, the agency has up to six months to file a report on the collapse, and will probably need most of that time.  He says there isn't a working theory on what happened and the agency doesn't want to speculate.

Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.