UPDATE: 03/01/2017 5:20pm
The Mississippi Department of Transportation has closed the Highway 49 southbound ramp to Interstate 20 eastbound in Rankin County.
A large truck hit the underside of the Interstate 20 bridge over U.S. Highway 49 Wednesday morning.
“The I-20 eastbound bridge over Highway 49 remains safe for the traveling public, and the ramp is closed until repairs are made,” said District 5 Engineer Brian Ratliff.
MDOT maintenance workers, bridge inspectors and enforcement responded to the crash site with equipment to clear debris, assess the damage and re-route traffic safely. MDOT is working with other agencies responding to the crash, including the Pearl Police Department and Richland Police Department, who are investigating the incident.
“We appreciate the support and assistance of local law enforcement in Pearl and Richland,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. “MDOT initiated a repair plan immediately that includes a letting for bid through an emergency contract. This incident highlights the importance of having skilled maintenance workers and engineers who can quickly respond in an emergency to review damage, develop a repair plan and initiate traffic control for the safety of the traveling public.”
The repair plan has begun with a month-long timeline for completion. The plan includes:
- Selecting a contractor using the state bid process.
- The contractor will cut out the portion of the deck to be replaced; shoring it to ensure motorists are safe.
- The plans for the replacement beam will be given to the MDOT Construction Division to procure a beam.
- The beam will take three days to procure and seven to 10 days to make.
- While the beam is being fabricated, the selection of a contractor and removal of the damaged section of the bridge will occur.
- Once the beam is delivered, it is set on the bridge caps, and the bridge deck will be reformed.
- Finally, the contractor will reform the concrete bridge rail. This involves relaying steel rebar which is a lengthy process.
“We appreciate the public’s understanding and patience as MDOT makes these repairs,” McGrath said. “The public will not see any physical work at the crash site during the first two weeks of the repair while the replacement beam is being created and set to be strong enough to lift into place.”
Motorists should use caution as crews will be on site, and the speed limit will be reduced.
For information on how to navigate a highway work zone safely, visit GoMDOT.com/drivesmartms.
UPDATE: 03/01/2017 10:16am This incident has been cleared pending bridge work that is expected to take place within the next few weeks.
UPDATE: 03/01/2017 9:04am WJTV’s Margaret-Ann Carter is on the scene. She reports that an official with MDOT says that it could take up to fifteen days to get an emergency contractor to properly repair damage done to the structure after a garbage truck hit a portion of the overpass. Once the scene is cleared drivers will be able to pass under it and a portion of the roadway, including the shoulder, may be blocked until repairs are made.
No injuries have been reported.
UPDATE: 03/01/2017 9:01am Heavy traffic delays are still reported along US 49 past I-20 E in Rankin County as authorities continue to work the scene.
UPDATE: 03/01/2017 8:35am Delays are still listed as being approximately two hours in duration.
RANKIN COUNTY, Mississippi (WJTV) Heavy traffic delays are being reported along US 49 past I-20E in Rankin County, Mississippi.
All northbound lanes are blocked. The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is indicating that delays of two hours are to be expected because of a crash. The exact nature of the crash in not known. It is not known if there are any injuries.
This is a developing story. WJTV will provide more information and traffic updates as soon as they are available.