SOPERTON, Ga. (CW69 News at 10/CNN) — Interstate 16 near Soperton in south Georgia, which was closed in both directions after a large dump trailer damaged an overpass in Treutlen County, reopened ahead of schedule, according to state Department of Transportation District Engineer Corbett Reynolds.
The GDOT originally expected the westbound lanes to open by Sunday morning, but those lanes opened Friday, Reynolds said. Eastbound lanes opened Saturday, he said.READ MORE: The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office In Contract With FDOT For Speed Enforcement
“We’ll be asking Georgia State Patrol to escort the traffic down from our traffic patrol on the other side of Exit 78 and crews will continue to work diligently to get the other side safed-up, so that we can prepare to open at latest tomorrow morning on the eastbound side,” Reynolds said.
🚧Treutlen County: UPDATE 🚧
All I-16 Eastbound AND Westbound lanes have reopened! Expect delays in this area as it opens up.
— 511 – A Service of Georgia DOT (@511Georgia) July 17, 2021
Traffic had been shut down in both directions and detoured since the large truck struck the bridge on Thursday, creating a danger when the bridge deck shifted off its supports by 6 feet over the interstate below, the GDOT said in a news release.
The entire bridge deck had to be destroyed before the interstate could be reopened.
“That will be the fastest way to reopen I-16,” GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said Thursday. “We already have crews out there, underway, preparing for this demolition, and mobilization of specialized demolition equipment is in route and will begin demolition this evening.”READ MORE: Georgia Expands CAPS Child Care Program To Add 10,000 More Children
Reopening the westbound lane that runs from Savannah to Macon was the priority, according to McMurray, for a number of reasons, including the freight flow from the Savannah Port into middle Georgia and Metro Atlanta. However, it was also the biggest safety issue.
Deputy Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Public Safety Lt. Colonel William W. Hitchens III said there would be “some charges coming” against the driver of the dump trailer that struck the bridge.
“We’ve already identified some things, but we want to finish the investigation before we make a final decision on exactly what we charge the driver with and traffic charges and things that go along with his commercial license,” Hitchens said.
According to Hitchens the driver was not seriously injured in the wreck.MORE NEWS: Ghosts of Ybor City
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