Road Reopened After Bridge Collapse

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

An Eastern Kentucky road is back open after a bridge collapsed blocking the way for almost 24 hours.

It happened on Route 632 in Phelps when a tractor trailer hit the bridge with the bulldozer it was pulling.

Investigators with Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement say charges are pending against the truck's driver saying he never should have been hauling the bulldozer in the first place.

It took not one, but two cranes to pick up a collapsed railroad bridge and the flatbed truck and bulldozer underneath it.

"I've never seen nothing like this," said Marty Casey who witnessed the accident.

Crews worked around the clock to clean up the accident scene.

Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement officers are still investigating the accident, but say there's no doubt what caused it.

"Quite simply the load on the tractor trailer. The top of the dozer struck the bottom of the bridge," said KVE Officer Kevin Belcher.

"A major impact. I looked up and saw the railroad track flipping in the air," Casey said.

The bridge is marked with a 14 foot clearance sign. KVE officers say this type of truck can't legally carry anything over 13.6 inches.

"Looks like several feet above the height limit," Belcher said.

Investigators estimate the bulldozer was at least 17 feet high. Officers also say the driver broke another rule, there was no flagger in front of the truck.

"So far in the investigation, it's been determined he just had one escort in the rear, and he's supposed to have one in the front and the back on a two lane highway," Belcher said.

Officers say the truck driver hasn't given them a reason why he drove under the bridge.

Crews were able to put the same bridge back up. Engineers say the scene is safe, but they're still working on repairs to the track before trains can travel across the bridge again.

Railroad officials at the scene said trains are halted from traveling on the tracks, but crews are working non-stop on the repairs and believe it will be safe for trains again as early as Thursday night.

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