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My worst fear about driving: I 75 bridge collapse in Cincinnati

Posted by on Jan. 20, 2015 at 7:11 AM
  • 23 Replies

1 dead, 1 hurt after overpass collapses onto I-75 in Cincinnati

Parts of I-75 will be closed for at least 48 hours

CINCINNATI - 9 On Your Side will begin coverage at 4 a.m.Watch live here.

A man is dead and another is injured after an overpass collapsed onto I-75 in Cincinnati Monday night, sending several hundred tons of machinery and concrete into traffic.

Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said the old northbound off-ramp to Hopple Street came crashing down onto southbound I-75 at about 10:30 p.m.

The overpass crushed a construction worker as it collapsed and pinned him under the rubble. Crews used airbags to lift the wreckage off him and removed his body at about 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Emergency crews said southbound I-75 in the area will be "closed indefinitely" during the cleanup and investigation. Eastbound I-74 at Beekman Street is also shut down due to the collapse.

Blackwell estimated southbound I-75 would be closed for "at least 48 hours," meaning it may not open until Thursday.

Location of overpass collapse

"There needs to be excavation and then assessment of the overall structure of the remaining bridge parts and the pavement itself. We think may have some significant damage. We're going to be looking at all those factors before reopening I-75,” the chief said.

Cincinnati Police Department Traffic Unit officials said all vehicles traveling south on I-75 should reroute to either I-275 or I-71. Drivers heading south on I-75 who don't take those exits will be forced to reroute to westbound I-74.

All commuters traveling eastbound on I-74 will be rerouted to either northbound I-75 or the Colerain/Beekman Avenue exit.

Blackwell asked that morning commuters plan ahead.

"Please stay away from the area and leave at an appropriate time to get to work," he said. "...This is going to impact traffic for quite some time."

The police chief said a man was driving a tractor trailer under the overpass when it collapsed. The semi took serious damage and Blackwell called the driver "very lucky."

"A matter of seconds and his fate would probably have been different," he said. "...I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. The entire overpass just collapsed straight down onto the freeway."

The driver was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center to be treated for minor injuries, emergency crews said.

Blackwell said city workers and emergency crews will need the public’s help as the situation moves forward.

"We’re going to do the best we can. Obviously, it's a very tragic situation and we're going to work our way through it, but we're going to ask for some patience from the Cincinnati community,” the chief said.

The chief was struck by the enormity of the damage and said the situation was unique in his experience.

“You know I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. It is the entire overpass has just collapsed straight down onto the freeway. So it's quite a sight and unfortunately a person did lose their life,” Blackwell said.

City Manager Harry Black called the incident a "tragedy" and said "something went wrong" during construction Monday night.

"It's a workplace incident. You've got a lot of heavy equipment in a construction site," Black said. "Our teams are here surveying the situation. We will work with the state department of transportation to figure out what happened."

Cincinnati Fire Department officials called the incident a "catastrophic pancake collapse" and said the old overpass was in the process of being demolished when it came down.

Blackwell referred to the incident as a "workplace accident."

"Something happened and the structure gave way," he said. "A big piece of machinery collapsed with the deck onto the moving traffic of 75 below."

Kokosing, a company based in Westerville, Ohio, was tasked with the construction of the overpass. According to the firm's website, it has won awards for safety in the past. 

“In 2006, we received the Willis/Construction Safety Excellence Award -- which is the nation’s Grand Award from the Associated General Contractors of America. Receiving this award was a great honor for our employees," the website states. “In 2009, Kokosing was awarded the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program Star Mobile Workforce Status."

The northbound ramp to Hopple Street that collapsed Monday was closed to the public after a new exit ramp to Hopple opened Friday, Dec. 26. The new ramp is on the east side of I-75, while the old ramp that collapsed Monday was on the west.

Agents from OSHA are investigating the scene. The Ohio Department of Transportation was also contacted, Blackwell said.

The name of the worker killed in the collapse is not being released until his family is notified, authorities said.

The accident is causing detours in other ways as well. Cincinnati’s Metro service said routes that use I-75 and some adjacent streets will be rerouted.

The agency said some delays are possible as they adjust the service. Officials said they are attempting to serve all bus stop on adjacent streets, but routing may vary, depending on traffic.

Courtesy Calvin Andrus

Courtesy Calvin Andrus

newsnet5.com sister station WCPO will update this story when more information becomes available.

 

How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


by on Jan. 20, 2015 at 7:11 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Lunarprancer
by Silver Member on Jan. 20, 2015 at 7:15 AM
My brother lives in Cinci and my sister in KY. So disturbing.
survivorinohio
by René on Jan. 20, 2015 at 7:17 AM


Quoting Lunarprancer: My brother lives in Cinci and my sister in KY. So disturbing.

Very scary!

How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


Lunarprancer
by Silver Member on Jan. 20, 2015 at 11:07 AM
Where are you? I'm in Dayton.
Sisteract
by Whoopie on Jan. 20, 2015 at 11:48 AM
1 mom liked this

My hubs works and lives PT in Cinci- he is rarely in his office as his job is US wide. Of course, this week he is in Cinci. I just called him. He is clueless. He is suppose to drive to Lexington, KY this afternoon and fly to Los Angeles tonight. 

Thanks for the heads up.

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Jan. 20, 2015 at 11:57 AM
1 mom liked this

I know that our weather here is nothing like other places, clearly.

Even so, I dread winter because I dread driving in certain conditions.  I do not travel far under certain conditions.  

Nothing causes me more anxiety than crappy roads in the winter.

This accident, and all the others, are horrific.

survivorinohio
by René on Jan. 20, 2015 at 12:26 PM

I hail from Akron :)

Quoting Lunarprancer: Where are you? I'm in Dayton.


How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


Raesreppilf
by Member on Jan. 20, 2015 at 12:31 PM

I read about that earlier.  My brother and I attended the University of Cincinnati and often took the Hopple St exit to get to campus.  Scary stuff.

survivorinohio
by René on Jan. 20, 2015 at 12:51 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting Raesreppilf:

I read about that earlier.  My brother and I attended the University of Cincinnati and often took the Hopple St exit to get to campus.  Scary stuff.

Its very scary. I remember being freaked out by the Tampa Skyway and one week after I travelled it, it fell.  I have never "liked" bridges but the older I get the more afraid I am and the more I think about the skyway falling .


How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


Mrs.Crafty
by Member on Jan. 21, 2015 at 11:16 AM
2 moms liked this
there are extra taxes on gas to pay for roads. where is that money going. there is no reason to have a failing infastructure.
RandRMomma
by on Jan. 21, 2015 at 11:38 AM
Scary. I've driven through Cinci before on my way down south.
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