PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- The bridge for the East Highway U.S. 50 Bypass that goes over Interstate 25 in Pueblo has been hit by semi-trucks multiple times in the last couple of years. It is scheduled to be replaced as part of a $60 million project.
On Nov. 15, 2023, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) said an oversized truck clipped the bottom of the bridge knocking debris onto I-25. For most of the evening, all southbound lanes were closed while CDOT assessed the damage.
“Any time a bridge is struck, they want to ensure that the bridge is safe for the traveling public to pass under and over,” said Amber Shipley, the communication manager for CDOT’s Region 2 in Southeast Colorado.
Shipley said CDOT removed the debris from the road, made repairs to the bridge, and reopened I-25 after it was determined the bridge was structurally sound.
The Pueblo Police Department said the truck driver, who was from Texas, didn’t have the proper permit and was cited for careless driving. But truck centers and repair shops throughout Pueblo told KRDO13 Investigates the bridge is often hit by truck drivers. One shop said the bridge was angled so the southbound side was lower than the northbound side. Another shop said more signage would be helpful to warn truckers about the bridge clearance.
Shipley said the bridge is not lower than others throughout Pueblo and Southeastern Colorado but has been designated to be replaced as part of a $60 million project. CDOT said bridges throughout the state are inspected at least every two years. Bridges that are deemed to have structural concerns are placed on a priority list for repair or replacement.
“It's had repairs in the past from being struck and they'll do some further repairs to it and make sure that people can continue traveling until it gets replaced because it's a couple of years out before that'll happen,” Shipley said.
The project will reconstruct the Highway 50 and I-25 interchange and replace three “poor” bridges along I-25 and Highway 50 as well as raise their heights.
“It'll be a newer height to accommodate the new vehicles and commercial vehicles that are transporting larger items than they used to,” Shipley said.
The project will go out for bid in Spring 2024, construction will start in the summer and the project is expected to be completed by Fall 2026.
“I think Puebloans have been waiting for this for a while,” Shipley said. “It'll provide a little bit more ease of access and won't have those tight curves. It'll actually have a totally new configuration, so it's an exciting time for the Pueblo freeway.”