Mt. Hope Hwy Bridge and 496 Entry Ramp Reopen

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

Four days ago a truck rammed into a pier on the ramp to the 496 East, bursting into flames and killing an Arkansas couple in the crash.

"It was a semi that came Westbound 96 and ran into the pier," said MDOT Construction Tech Channing Page.

"There was more damage to the bridge structure than we thought," said Kari Arend, MDOT's spokesperson.

That's why crews spent Saturday morning and afternoon installing temporary supports and barrier walls to protect them. The entry ramp for the 496 East was closed and so was the Mount Hope Highway bridge above. But by now Arend says they're back open.

"It is a route used by commuters, by school buseses so we wanted to make sure we have the road open," she said.

The solution is only temporary, but construction techs say that's protocol in the winter.

"It's too cold for the concrete to cure," Page said.

MDOT engineers are currently working on a more permanent solution. That construction will begin in the spring but until then, MDOT says, its focus will be on winter driving.

"With winter now on us again, it's just more driving for winter conditons and reminding motorists to slow down and pay attention out there on the roadway," Arend said.

Arend says when its below 20 degrees out, salt doesn't always do the trick. Instead, a sand mixture is used to create some friction on the raod.

"It's really important for motorists to remember to slow down, plan extra time when traveling, just so they can get to their destination safely," she said.

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