Debris falling on I-35 forces Olathe to stop construction on 119th Street bridge

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OLATHE, Kan. — Safety concerns have forced construction work to stop on a big and normally busy bridge in Johnson County.

The 119th Street bridge over Interstate 35 closed last week for construction, and now reports of falling debris have forced crews to stop work on it.

Olathe police got two calls about falling debris Tuesday, but no reports of damage to vehicles. Now construction on the street continues, but the City of Olathe said it has paused all work on the bridge.

Colby Williams drives that route to work twice a day, five days a week. He hasn’t seen anything fly from the bridge to the highway but said it’s a concern that others have reported it.

“It’s dangerous,” Williams said.

The city sent the following statement: “The safety of all travelers is our first priority. Upon hearing of debris coming from the underside of the 119th Street bridge, construction on the bridge was immediately paused. All work over I-35 will not resume until additional measures such as falsework and canvas draping are installed to protect the traveling public.”

Williams said the bridge closure is a headache to begin with. Now, he hopes crews don’t fall behind on the work load, pushing back the timeline. 

“The longer it takes them to do it, the longer I have to drive farther to get back to where I need to be at,” Williams said. “So it’s a little bit upsetting.”

Crews were scheduled to wrap up this project by September. There’s no word yet when the bridge work will restart. 

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