I-585 open after crash that damaged California Ave. bridge - FOX Carolina 21

I-585 open after crash that damaged California Ave. bridge

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A look at the damaged California Ave. bridge after I-585 reopened. (Jan. 14, 2014/FOX Carolina) A look at the damaged California Ave. bridge after I-585 reopened. (Jan. 14, 2014/FOX Carolina)
What remains of the California Ave. bridge over I-585. (Jan. 14, 2014/SC DOT) What remains of the California Ave. bridge over I-585. (Jan. 14, 2014/SC DOT)
The damaged California Ave. bridge that crosses over I-585 in Spartanburg. (Jan. 13, 2014/FOX Carolina) The damaged California Ave. bridge that crosses over I-585 in Spartanburg. (Jan. 13, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Crews worked through the night to clean the scene in order to reopen I-585. (Jan. 13, 2014/FOX Carolina) Crews worked through the night to clean the scene in order to reopen I-585. (Jan. 13, 2014/FOX Carolina)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

DOT crews reopened a portion of Interstate 585 in Spartanburg County early Tuesday morning after a wreck shut down the area for most of Monday.

A truck carrying too tall of a load collided with the California Avenue bridge that crosses over I-585 (North Pine Street - US 176) in Spartanburg, shutting down both roads Monday just after 9 a.m.

The bridge is south of Business 85 and is near mile-marker 24 along I-585.

According to Jason Allison with the Department of Transportation, the truck's load was higher than the bridge's 13-foot, 10-inch maximum clearance. He said there are several signs warning drivers of the bridge's height requirements.

Cpl. Bill Rhyne with the South Carolina Highway Patrol said the tractor-trailer had a sky lift with a 40-foot boom that hit the bottom of the bridge.

Officials at the scene said no one was injured, and they were thankful that no cars were under the bridge when the truck collided, dragging one of the bridge's concrete slabs 5 feet.

Photographs from the scene showed a large amount of concrete debris scattered across the interstate along with a large chunk of the bridge damaged. Allison said some of the support beams were damaged in the collision.

"Never seen an incident like this. It stands alone," Allison said.

California Avenue and I-585 were closed to all traffic while engineers assessed the integrity of the bridge, according to Doug Bryson with Spartanburg Emergency Management. He said the section of California Avenue near the bridge will be closed until further notice.

Bryson said the bridge has to be replaced.

Allison said the bridge was already scheduled to be replaced in September as part of the I-585 rehabilitation project. The bridge will remain closed until DOT officials can determine a start date to replace the bridge, according to Allison.

"The condition it's in right now, I wouldn't want to put a load on it," Allison said.

He said it would not be economical to simply replace the damaged portion of the bridge because of the upcoming replacement project.

According to the SCDOT, the bridge was built in 1957, and its current average daily traffic is 4,700.

He said though clearance allowances have changed through the years, there was no way the bridge had settled based off the type of bridge it is. He said maintenance crews check the bridge every year, and the last time it was checked, the bridge had not settled.

Bridge closure impacts Spartanburg drivers

While drivers were allowed back onto I-585 under what's left of the California Avenue bridge, they will still be impacted by the construction and bridge's closure.

I-585 drivers wanting to get off at California Avenue can still exit but will not be able to cross back over the highway. They should use nearby highways, including Asheville Highway and Highway 9, as alternate routes.

"It's gonna be an inconvenience, but as long as they have another route, it shouldn't be a major problem," said Carolyn Farr Shanesy, public information specialist for USC Upstate. She helped the university notify students, staff and shuttle drivers about the closures on Monday.

Before the highway could reopen, crews had to demolish the damaged portion of the bridge.

SCDOT's crews worked through the night to demolish the span and haul everything off before rush hour. The highway was back open before 5:30 a.m.

"This work was done in record time, working through terrible weather conditions and countless challenges to overcome," said Steven Gwinn, SCDOT's District 3 Engineering Administrator. "I commend the SCDOT employees involved in the emergency effort to restore connectivity for the motoring public as quickly as possible."

Stay with FOX Carolina and foxcarolina.com for the latest in this developing story.

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