If you were out and about near the entrance of the 68-80 Bypass on Tuesday, you probably noticed the glare of several blue lights among numerous individuals standing around looking awestruck at what was laying in front of them. A massive bridge beam, which was over 30 feet in length, wasn’t connecting two land masses over a body of water, but instead sandwiched in between four lanes of the highway.
According to the Russellville Police Department, the accident occurred at approximately 10 a.m. involving a semi tractor-trailer, hauling the 65-ton bridge beam from Bowling Green to St. Louis. The driver, John Hatfield of North Carolina, said a pin snapped on the trailer causing the load to fall.
The only damages incurred were to the semi-truck trailer and the roadway itself. No other vehicles were damaged and no injuries were reported. Portions of the beam were actually embedded into the asphalt.
One of the escorts following the truck reported seeing the load begin to tilt and knew something was drastically wrong. He said soon after chains began flying and the bridge beam fell. He said he was concerned the truck itself would flip, but it didn’t.
One lane of both the east and westbound lanes were closed for hours as agencies arranged for the beam to be removed. These lanes remained blocked until approximately 8 p.m. Tuesday evening.
Two very large cranes were brought in to help lift the beam, which was loaded onto another truck.
The Russellville Police Department was assisted by the Logan County Sheriff’s Department, Logan County Emergency Management, the Kentucky Department of Transportation, Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement, and the Logan County Emergency Communications Center. The investigating officer is Samantha K. Reeser.