Posted 3/21/12 (Wed)
By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer
The Long X Bridge, 16 miles south of Watford City, was temporarily closed Sunday afternoon after a semi hauling a trailer and carrying an excavator repeatedly struck overhead beams of the bridge before finally breaking one of the beams from the bridge structure.
According to Jamie Olson of the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), after an inspection on Monday, which determined that the bridge was structurally sound, the bridge was reopened to one-way traffic.
According to the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Department, the excavator, which was too tall for the bridge’s clearance, hit some of the overhead beams, causing structural damage to the bridge’s support beams and cross bars, and ultimately, prompted its closure.
Fortunately, there was no oncoming traffic and no one was injured in the incident.
The McKenzie County Sheriff’s Department and the North Dakota Highway Patrol responded to the crash on Sunday, and on Monday, the NDDOT flew bridge inspectors in from Bismarck to begin their inspection.
The Long X Bridge will be reduced to one lane with one-way traffic allowed at a time while repairs are being made. Flaggers, according to the NDDOT, will be present to direct traffic until signals are in place.
Motorists are encouraged to use caution when driving by reducing speeds and obeying flaggers and posted signs.
The NDDOT estimates the construction and repair project will be completed by May.
Truckers are also being advised that only legal load limits are allowed on the roadway and a 15-foot width restriction is in place until further notice.