Hot-Wire Her With A Pin
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: County Hell
Location: County Hell
Sportbike: Blue Mini Cooper
Years Riding: Done for now
How you found us: Bad weather bikers
Damaged Bridge Closes Stretch of Interstate 70 in Hays
Feb 28, 2006, 05:30 PM
HAYS, Kan. (AP) -- A four-mile section of eastbound Interstate 70 remained closed to traffic Wednesday morning, two days after an overpass was damaged by a piece of construction equipment being hauled under it.
A tracked backhoe excavator being transported on a flatbed trailer struck the overpass just before 6 p.m. Monday. The boom extended and ripped through the concrete deck of the bridge, said Kevin Zimmer, area engineer in Hays for the Kansas Department of Transportation. No one was injured.
Motorists heading east were rerouted to other roads and back to the interstate. Westbound traffic was not affected.
Zimmer said temporary bridge supports had been set up by 8 p.m. Tuesday, and a tow truck company had the backhoe removed about two hours later. But the eastbound lanes remained closed Wednesday morning, and Zimmer said he didn't know how long traffic would have to continue detouring off the interstate.
Transportation department engineers were assessing damage to the bridge, and a contractor was expected at the scene later Wednesday to determine what would be needed for an emergency repair project.
Zimmer said if the bridge can be repaired in a couple weeks, the detour would probably remain in effect. If more extensive repairs are needed, officials would likely reroute the eastbound traffic temporarily over to the westbound lane, he said.
The bridge, about a mile west of the main I-70 interchange at Hays, also remained closed.
"It could be a matter of removing the damaged part and replacing the middle section in the best case," Zimmer said. "In the worst case, the whole bridge would have to come down."
Zimmer estimated a partial replacement could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, while a new bridge could total more than $1 million.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal," Zimmer said. "We have bridges that get hit fairly regularly, but it's usually a small impact that removes a small amount of concrete. This is pretty substantial."
Kansas Highway Patrol spokesman Allan Lytton said the truck, driven by Michael Conley, 53, of Holcomb, didn't have the permits necessary to be on the interstate.
"He was supposed to take other two-lane roads," Lytton said.
He said the patrol planned to complete its investigation before deciding whether to ticket Conley.
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