I-440 west reopens after truck strikes bridge near Athens Drive

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Interstate 440 was closed for more than three hours Tuesday afternoon after a tractor-trailer pulling a crane struck an overpass, causing concrete to fall into the roadway near Melbourne Road.

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Around 1:30 p.m. the tractor-trailer was traveling westbound on I-440 when the crane it was pulling struck the Melbourne Road bridge.

Melbourne Road will be closed overnight, NCDOT crews confirmed.

Concrete fell from the bridge, striking a car on I-440. No one was injured.

Emergency vehicles were on the scene, blocking both lanes until about 4:45 p.m.

Around 3:10 p.m, crews brought in a bucket lift truck so a close inspection could be made of the damage.

Neighbors living nearby said they were trying to deal with the inconvenience.

“Because in the back of my house you can actually see the highway, and I did see a lot of traffic. I thought it was a car accident there. I had no idea it was because of the bridge,” said Erica Poitier-Williams.  “Being that they blocked off the bridge is good, so nobody’s going over. But, people are still going under, so just watch it and hurry up and fix it.”

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The bridge was built in 1959 and is considered “structurally deficient.”

In general, the operator of any vehicle that strikes an obstacle more than 12 feet 6 inches off the ground is responsible for the damage.

Loads on North Carolina highways cannot be more than 13 feet 6 inches tall without a special permit.

The load that hit the bridge was 15 feet 2 inches in height, troopers said.

It wasn’t immediately clear what the bridge’s clearance was or whether any permit had been issued.

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