Pieces of Kingshighway bridge falling off

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - An important St. Louis bridge that’s scheduled to be torn soon has already begun crumbling on its own.

It’s the Kingshighway overpass bridge at Daggett near The Hill. On Wednesday, a piece of the bridge came crashing down surprising one man, who avoided being struck.

“Very loud, like a slap, and then a big bang after that,” he said.

The man, who asked not to be identified, said it was about a 10-foot section of concrete that fell from one of the bridge supports.

“I definitely think they should warn people,” said Kristen Otto, who drives in the area. “I drive down here every single day.”

People drive underneath the crumbling bridge to make u-turns. High school student Darrius Jones walks under the bridge. He thinks the overpass needs more warning signs.

“…Some people don’t pay attention,” he said.

Beginning June 1, crews will begin tearing down the old bridge to replace it with a new one - a $20 million project.

“The bridge is safe,” said city operations director Todd Waelterman. “It might look like hell.”

Waelterman wants everyone to know the old bridge is structurally sound and inspected regularly. He said his crews will here Friday chipping off other concrete that could fall and hit someone or a car.

Waelterman said there are 70 bridges in the city, a dozen are like the Kingshighway bridge and need to be replaced, but the city needs cash from the federal government to make that happen.

“We haven’t received the federal funding we need and we need their help,” Waelterman said.

The man who saw the big piece fall Wednesday thinks the entire bridge should be shut down until it can be demolished, but Waelterman does not think that is necessary.

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