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Rig Knocks Bridge onto TX Interstate

Monday, November 11, 2013

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As if fixing failing bridges isn't costly enough, Texas must now replace a bridge that was in "very good condition"—until, that is, a tractor trailer knocked it down.

The 18-wheeler hit the bridge's support beams overnight Tuesday (Nov. 5) while heading west on Interstate 20 in Howard County, TX. The bridge carries Farm to Market Road 2599 over I-20.

Shortly after the crash, a second big rig smashed into the bridge debris, officials said. Both drivers reportedly suffered minor injuries.

Texas bridge collapse
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A Texas bridge collapsed onto Interstate 20 after an 18-wheeler struck its support beams. A second truck plowed into the bridge debris a short time later.

The Texas Department of Transportation did not have the name of the company operating the first 18-wheeler, but a spokeswoman said it was believed to be carrying heavy pipe.

Replacement Questions

By Wednesday (Nov. 6) afternoon, TxDOT had contracted Price Construction of Big Spring, TX, to handle demolition and debris removal. Traffic was restored to the main lanes in both directions of I-20 Thursday (Nov. 7) afternoon.

Still, the biggest job lies ahead.

"Now that the damaged bridge has been removed and the interstate traffic has been restored, we can begin working toward replacing the bridge," Darah Waldrip, TxDOT Public Information Officer for the Abilene/Brownwood Districts, said in an email Thursday.

"I do not have a time frame for the work yet—we will need to design a new structure and issue an emergency contract, so I should have a clearer picture of that process in a few days," Waldrip added.

Facebook / TxDOT

Now that interstate traffic has been restored, TxDOT plans to issue an emergency contract to replace the bridge, which was found to be in "very good condition" after an inspection this summer.

The bridge has low traffic volume, primarily made up of passenger vehicles, Waldrip said.

Maintenance and Inspection

The bridge was built in 1958 and was renovated and raised in 1977. Routine maintenance has been performed "periodically," according to TxDOT.

The bridge was last inspected July 25, 2013, and found to be in "very good condition," the agency said.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is handling the investigation. A request to the department for more information was not immediately returned.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT)

Comment from William Feliciano, (11/12/2013, 9:17 AM)

Wow. Looks like the first rig knocked the concrete pier column(s)right out. It’s a miracle that no one got seriously hurt here. TxDOt should probably consider concrete barrier in front of the new bridge's support columns, or a solid pier wall.

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