One Killed in Interstate Bridge Collapse
BIG SPRINGS, Neb. (AP) _ A bridge over Interstate 80 collapsed when a semi-trailer slammed into it, killing the driver. The accident shut down a 10-mile stretch of the interstate.
One other person was slightly injured in the crash, and was treated and released from Sedgwick County Medical Center in Julesburg, Colo., a nursing supervisor said.
Nebraska State Patrol Trooper Doug Miller said early Saturday morning that the patrol knew of three eastbound semitrailers that were damaged by the falling debris. He said none were trapped under rubble.
Both eastbound and westbound traffic was being rerouted around the Big Springs interchange, the Nebraska State Patrol said.
``We’re completely packed right now,″ said Stanley Crandell, assistant manager at the Bosselman Travel Center in Big Springs. ``Just a lot of people wanting to know how to get around and keep going to Denver.″
The driver of the westbound truck was pronounced dead at the scene, Miller said. The driver’s identity was not immediately known.
Chris Peterson, an aide to Gov. Mike Johanns, initially estimated the interstate would be cleared by Saturday morning, but revised that after officials arrived on scene and saw the damage.
``The bridge fell in such a way that it won’t be easily cleared,″ Peterson said. ``It’s too early to determine how early the interstate will reopen, the assessment is under way.″
A nearby portion of the interstate was closed during the busy July Fourth weekend last year when approaches to two interstate bridges in Ogallala washed out in flash flooding.
Interstate 80, the nation’s busiest highway, was closed for a week while repairs were made.
Just west of Big Springs is the Interstate 80-Interstate 76 interchange. Interstate 76 is the main route to Denver from Nebraska.