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Harrisburg Road bridge could be closed "until the fall"

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News


One person is dead after a semi-truck slammed into the northbound concrete columns holding up the Harrisburg Road Bridge at Interstate 555.  57-year-old Jackie Becker of Jonesboro has been identified by the Jonesboro Police Department as being deceased.  At least three explosions were confirmed by the Jonesboro Police Department after impact and a massive fire started.  No word as to what caused the accident and there is no word at this time whether hazardous materials were being carried on the truck. The impact and the subsequent fire caused the bridge to be compromised, as the horizontal beam has separated from the bridge.  No traffic is allowed on the bridge.  Paul Holmes is Public Information Specialist with the Jonesboro Police Department.  He says engineers with the Arkansas Highway Transportation Department are assessing the severity of the damage.  No word how long that bridge will be closed to traffic. 

“That is really the call from the engineers at the Highway Department,” said Holmes.  “Traffic is not allowed on the bridge at this time.  This is already one of the busier intersections in Jonesboro and traffic problems are being compounded by construction work on Highland Drive today.  Please find an alternate route to get home.”

At this hour, traffic is flowing normally on I-555 southbound.  Traffic northbound is being diverted at Caraway and being re-routed through Harrisburg Road, Highland Drive, Southwest Drive and then motorists can get back on at Southwest Drive.  As for the Harrisburg Road bridge, Danny Straessle with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department says they will have to stabilize the bridge with hydraulic jacks before they can remove the remains of the semi-truck from the bridge.   He tells what should happen this week in the first steps to repair the bridge.

“We would hope that by the end of the week, we are able to shore up the bridge deck so traffic can go under the bridge,”  said Straessle.  “That bridge is closed to traffic until further notice.”

He says it could be a long time before the bridge is open again to traffic

“Realistically, we are looking at this bridge being closed for several months and it may not be ready until the fall.”

More details as they become available here.