Some lanes on the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge in Washington, D.C., will remain shut down for months for emergency repairs after “structural deficiencies” were found, D.C. Department of Transportation officials said.
The three middle lanes of the Roosevelt Bridge, which is part of Interstate 66, closed about 10 p.m. Friday for repair work that’s expected to last four months, weather permitting, DDOT said in a press release.
The structural deficiencies on the bridge, which connects D.C. and Virginia, were discovered during routine inspections on Friday, when rust was found on the structure's support beams, DDOT said.
"Part of [the reason repair work will take months] is based on again, supply chain issues. We do need to get some supplies such as the replacement steel beam, and so we don't know exactly when we're going to be able to get that in hand," DDOT Director Everett Lott said.
The emergency work underway is set to fix the issues before they get worse, DDOT said.
"I want to just add that the bridge is safe. The bridge is safe for cars and travel, the bridge is safe for bicyclists to cross and its safe for pedestrians," Lott said.
Reporter Adam Tuss and the News4 team are covering you down on the roads and in transit.
DDOT officials told News4's Aimee Cho in November that repairs to the bridge were a priority use of funding expected after Congress passed a major infrastructure package. They also said a 2018 safety inspections found the bridge to be in poor condition.
At some point, the department says it does plan to repair the entire bridge and will have to shut it down entirely to do so.
For now, two lanes going into the city and two going out will be open. DDOT is also limiting the weight on the bridge to 10 tons at a time, partly to ease the stress on support beams before heavy snow equipment takes to the streets ahead of a snowy Sunday.
DDOT says commuters who use the bridge should look for alternate routes during the construction period or expect significant traffic and delays.
“Heavy traffic is expected along the bridge and alternate routes,” the DDOT release said.
Infrastructure has been top of mind for D.C. area residents, especially since a pedestrian bridge collapsed onto DC-295 in June 2021 after getting a "poor" rating. Investigators believe a truck struck the bridge, causing it to come loose and collapse; five people were injured.
Stay with News4 for more on this developing story.