A portion of the interstate in Georgia has been shut down after a huge dump truck crashed into a bridge, and shifted it by nearly six feet.
Damage to the structure was severe, and the SR 86 bridge over Interstate 16 in Treutlen County was completely demolished in the early hours of Friday morning, WSAV reported.
Engineers from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) said they have never seen anything like the incident that took place on Thursday. There were no reported injuries, according to Gov. Brian Kemp, who called it a "miracle."
"I think obviously, this happening in the wee hours of the morning was a big part of that, but we’re lucky in that regard," he said.
Traffic is expected to be severely impacted, with both directions of the interstate closed from Exit 71 to Exit 78 as demolition work continues. Kemp said he has been having talks with GDOT and officials from the counties where traffic will be disrupted.
"We are strategic in how we plan to reopen I-16," said GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry. "But we cannot reopen I-16 until the entire bridge deck is basically on the ground."
One westbound lane should be open to traffic by Sunday. An eastbound lane is expected to be opened by Monday followed by a full reopening of the I-16 by the end of next week. Eastbound traffic is being routed through Soperton while westbound traffic is being directed through Adrian.
"Motorists are urged to remain patient during this closure," GDOT officials said in a statement, according to KIRO. "Crews are working to repair and reopen the roadway as soon as possible to minimize impact to the traveling public."
Kevin and Elaine West, who were taking a trip from Savannah, did not expect the congestion they encountered.
"It’s just a mess, because you don’t know anything. You turn right, they turn left. It’s just, like, a mess," Elaine told WSB.
"We saw country we’ve never seen. It’s pretty back there but I don’t want to see it again for a while, I’ll put it that way," Kevin added.
Zoe Papadakis ✉
Zoe Papadakis is a Newsmax writer based in South Africa with two decades of experience specializing in media and entertainment. She has been in the news industry as a reporter, writer and editor for newspapers, magazine and websites.
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