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Too tall rig brings bridge traffic to a halt
It was more of an aggravation than a hazard, but many people were involved in one way or another last Friday when a sprayer vehicle being hauled across the Champ Clark Bridge struck a beam.
The result was a heavily damaged piece of expensive equipment, and a two and a half hour traffic delay across the bridge.
After it was determined that there was no structural damage to the bridge, it was again opened to traffic about 10 a.m. Friday.
The incident occurred about 7:30 Friday morning and traffic was immediately halted as people from both sides of the bridge attempted to get to work and other destinations.
Some traffic, which was already on the bridge, remained there for the duration, while others near both ends of the bridge were able to back off and take alternative routes.
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation Hannibal office, the large crop sprayer was too tall for the bridge clearance of over 15 feet. In Missouri, bridges with a clearance of over 15 feet are not marked. A sprayer beam from that rig struck an overhead bridge beam and became partially lodged on the beam.
Law enforcement agencies from Missouri and Illinois were called to the scene and traffic was detoured via other routes as the situation was studied.
Members of the highway department from Hannibal were sent to the scene and a bridge inspector from Jefferson City was summoned.
“Anytime a bridge is struck, it must be inspected and cleared,” said Marisa Brown, community relations manager for the Hannibal MoDot office. “Because the sprayer struck the overhead beam, an inspector from Jefferson City was called. Even if a cross beam is struck, if it is damaged, it can cause stress on other parts of the structure.
“The inspector looked at the bridge and determined that there was no structural damage.”
Brown said cleanup of the actual accident began shortly after the incident. Any chemicals which may have been in the sprayer were not an issue, said Brown. A small amount of hydraulic oil spilled at the scene was cleaned up.
Louisiana police reported that the driver of the tractor trailer hauling the sprayer was on his last day of work as a driver. The driver, from North Dakota, was hauling the sprayer from Texas to Illinois and was 75 miles short of his destination.
There were no injuries.