Truck knocks chip off overpass

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woodland i-80 overpass damaged 2

A crash on Wednesday could continue to impact highway drivers in the coming weeks.

Police say a tractor-trailer hauling an excavator hit and damaged a bridge carrying I-80.

There were still pieces of wire and concrete hanging off the bridge after PennDOT says an excavator hit it.

Traffic is still going over the bridge, but not in the right lane.

It happened around 10 a.m. on Wednesday at the Woodland exit off I-80 at Mile 123.

PennDOT says a low-boy, which is a tractor-trailer with a long trailer bed where a vehicle can drive up onto it, was carrying an excavator which has a long arm and that arm struck the 14-foot-high overpass.

The driver hit two beams, then backed up and left, but an alert driver got the license plate on the vehicle and police know which truck it was, assistant district executive Jim Surkovich of the Clearfield PennDOT office said.

“The damage was so severe when our bridge engineer went out and looked at it that they were concerned about the beams being damaged so severely that they could fall onto State Route 970, so we also had to close 970 as a precaution,” says Surkovich.

Surkovich says they were having an emergency bid meeting with three local contractors at 1 p.m. Wednesday to talk about demolishing the damaged section and replacing both beams. There was a smaller chip off the second beam.

He said replacing those beams could could take 2 to 3 months, and eastbound I-80 is expected stay down to one lane during the replacement work.

Meantime, they were hoping to re-open the road underneath sooner, maybe in 1 to 2 weeks.

We also noticed cardboard box debris that fell from the bridge. Surkovich said that is how they form the spaces in concrete beams like this and they cannot just form empty space otherwise.

PennDOT was also trying to figure out how to get school buses around this detour.

Meantime, the entire Woodland exit is on a project list for a possible $25 million replacement in 2020 that could raise the overpass a few feet, according to PennDOT.

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