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Stretch of interstate in Hancock County still down to one lane after fiery crash

MDOT suggests travelers to plan for congestion and to choose an alternate route if possible. According to MHP, no citations were issued in relation to the accid
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 8:27 PM CST
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HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - The Mississippi Department of Transportation is urged drivers to pack their patience when traveling westbound on Interstate 10 into Louisiana.

Officials said they’re working hard to get traffic flow back to normal, but to do that, they must repair the Pearl River bridge damaged Monday night when an 18-wheeler crashed and caught fire. Officials do not know how long that portion of the interstate will be down to one lane.

“I mean, it takes a couple of minutes on traffic,” said driver Gustavo Rodriguez. “Everybody just wants to get home. Especially if they have a long-way drive.”

Two days ago, a semi-truck driver collided with a bridge, resulting in a fiery crash that shut down traffic for nine hours on I-10.

“So, it’s frustrating to make it one-lane traffic,” Rodriguez said. “It takes time, by the time you get through there.”

MDOT crews worked to complete a structural analysis Wednesday. After initial reports that the interstate would be down to one lane for a week, MDOT said there’s no definitive timetable for when both lanes will be open again.

“Right now we’re not confident we have a timeframe for how long it will be closed,” said MDOT Engineer Kelly Castleberry. “Depending on what they find, it may have to be a permanent lane closure until we can make a repair.”

Mississippi Highway Patrol said a semi-truck hauling seven new BMW vehicles collided with the concrete bridge railing and caught fire. All seven cars and the truck were burned. Fortunately, the driver escaped unharmed.

“That’s incredibly remarkable,” said 18-wheeler driver Shaun Patterson. “You can definitely say that it’s even a miracle that everyone survived. If you hit someone with this, they usually crush everything they hit. One of the things we’re taught in school is that this truck, in an accident, usually always and it’s best to consider it as always a fatality. We have a split decision to make. We can either stop and hope that it stops or in some cases, choose to go off the road.”

As crews continue working, MDOT stressed slower speeds throughout the work zone and suggested travelers plan for congestion and choose an alternate route if possible.

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