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Overturned steel truck ties up U.S. 52 traffic

COAL GROVE – An overturned tractor trailer blocked U.

Wednesday, January 03, 2001

COAL GROVE – An overturned tractor trailer blocked U.S. 52 and the bridge leading to Kentucky for about four hours Tuesday as crews removed steel beams from the roadways.

There were no injuries, even though some of the steel beams tumbled from the Ashland bridge onto eastbound U.S. 52 below.

The tractor trailer was traveling west, from the direction of South Point, when it turned onto the Ashland bridge about 11:45 a.m., said Patrolman Shawn Wilson of the Coal Grove Police Department.

Wilson said the truck’s load shifted, causing the truck to turn over, which spilled between 90 and 100 steel I-beams across the bridge and onto the eastbound lane of U.S. 52, which runs beneath the bridge, Wilson said.

"We were really lucky that no one was hurt," he said. "Those beams weighed over 250 pounds each. We were lucky that no one was driving that stretch of highway when it happened."

Cleanup crews used cranes and forklifts to remove the steel beams. Cleanup was finished by about 4 p.m.

In addition, several minor accidents occurred when passing motorists in the eastbound lanes of US. 52 slowed down to stare at the accident, Wilson said.

Annabelle and Ed Jenkins, volunteers with Elizabeth Township Volunteer Fire Department, were traveling about four cars behind the tractor trailer when the accident occurred.

"The driver went to make the curve and it looked like the straps (holding the steel) just snapped," Mrs. Jenkins said.

Some of the steel beams broke bolts and railings on the bridge when they fell over the side, she said.

Ohio Department of Transportation District 9 spokesperson Kathleen Fuller said the bridge and roadway were passable after the accident.

There was no inspection but a general assessment by ODOT indicated everything was fine, Mrs. Fuller said.

ODOT cooperates with the Kentucky Department of Transportation on repairs. Kentucky has responsibility for the bridge.

The bridge accident sent motorists into downtown Ironton to use the Russell, Ky., bridge to link to Kentucky, which tied up traffic in the city. There were several fender benders reported.

And, an afternoon accident on U.S. 52 just west of the Ohio 93 intersection backed up traffic there, causing further congestion for motorists traveling through Lawrence County on Tuesday.