An Arlington, Texas father was killed in central Texas when a bridge collapsed onto lanes of I-35, according to a report from Fox News. “The Texas Department of Public Safety said the accident happened around noon Thursday in Salado, which is located south of Temple in Bell County. An oversized tractor trailer hit a beam at the FM 2484 overpass. The impact caused several other beams to become dislodged and fall onto the interstate. The beam fell onto a pickup truck traveling in the opposite direction, killing the driver, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. That driver was 32-year-old Clark Davis from Arlington, officials said. Three others were also hurt in the incident, and two of them have since been released from the hospital.
Davis’ mother told FOX 4 on Thursday night that he worked for ProBuild, a building supply company. She says he was a driver for the company and would deliver supplies and such to various places across the state. She was unsure of whether he was headed to a job or headed home from one at the time of the accident. Davis’ mother says he leaves behind a girlfriend and a 7-year-old daughter. She says Davis and his girlfriend had recently gotten back together and were discussing marriage. His mother describes Davis as a great father who loved his family.
Video from SKY 4 on Thursday showed two damaged 18-wheelers and beams from the bridge on top of several other vehicles. Traffic was still stopped in both directions and backed up for miles along the interstate, which is a primary north-south artery through Texas. “We’ve got more vehicles than we’ve got space for,” said Lt. Donnie Adams with the Bell County Sheriff’s Office, noting that the area is undergoing heavy construction. He said the stretch of roadway is being expanded to three lanes in both directions and includes new overpasses, exits and other work.” All lanes were finally reopened around 4 a.m. Friday.”
Massive Concrete Beams Caused Collapse
As ABC news explains, two massive concrete beams fell onto I-35 after the bridge was hit by a semi. “Two massive concrete beams fell on I-35 between Dallas and Austin on Thursday morning, killing 1 and injuring 3 other. Investigators believe a semi truck caused the bridge collapse when it slammed into an overpass under construction. Norberto Martinez, who heard the crash, said, “It was the two beams, fell on top of cars and the 18 wheelers. I worried so much, in fact I started praying for them” Three signs posted two miles before the overpass warn of the its height. Authorities are investigating why the truck driver seems to have ignored them.
“Were looking at the driver, the truck itself, and also the roadway,” Harpin Myers from Texas Department of Safety said. Oversized vehicles hit bridges almost 13,000 times in the United States in 2013 alone. The collision in Texas closed one of this states busiest interstates all day – while crews cleared debris and the crushed pickup truck where one man lost his life.”
The Latest of Several Texas Bridge-Collapse Tragedies
This collapse is the latest of many bridge-collapse tragedies in the state of Texas. Eight people were killed just days after the terror of September 11, 2001 when a bridge going to South Padre Island, the Queen Isabella Causeway, collapsed. According to mySA, “On the night the bridge collapsed, their vehicles suddenly plunging 80 feet into the churning bay below, those who didn’t make it simply were on their way home: the beloved city fire chief; the local surfing legend and his wife; friends out for a night on the island after a Friday night football game; workers returning to the mainland after their late shift.” Three people survived the Sept. 15, 2001, collapse of the only bridge to South Padre Island, able to escape after their vehicles flew into a yawning gap that opened on the bridge when barges struck a concrete support piling. Eight did not.”
The collapse on September 15, 2001 was caused by four loaded barges which crashed into one of the bridge’s support columns. This caused three of the 80 foot sections of the bridge to fall into the water, which left a huge hole in the road above. Because of an upward slope of the road at that area, approaching motorists could not see the the bridge was out, and cars drove off the bridge into the water. Cars fell 85 feet into the waters, killing 8 people and cutting off the only road which connected the island to the mainland. Fresh water ad electricity were also both supplied to the island via the bridge. Along with the loss of life, the economic costs were devastating.
As devastating as this was it was not the first time that the Queen Isabella Causeway had seen disaster. As Wikipedia explains, “On August 13, 1996, at 6:22pm, a Cessna TR182, collided with a causeway bridge while maneuvering near Port Isabel, Texas. Interviews, conducted by the investigator-in-charge states witnesses and local authorities reported that the airplane was observed flying a pass from north to south under the Queen Isabel Causeway Bridge which spans between Port Isabel, Texas, and South Padre Island, Texas. The airplane made a 180 degree turn and approached the bridge toward the north for another pass; however, the airplane struck a concrete bridge pylon and column and descended uncontrolled into the water. Witnesses recalled an explosion and black smoke as the airplane struck the bridge. Portions of the vertical and horizontal stabilizer were found projecting from the bridge column at about 8 feet above the waterline. Texas Department of Public Safety divers located the fuselage submerged on the west side of the column in approximately 8 to 10 feet of water. Aviation Toxicological testing was performed confirming positive for alcohol and cocaine.”
Sources: Fox News- http://www.fox4news.com/story/28623415/partial-bridge-collapse-on-i-35-in-central-texas-after-accident
ABC News- http://abcnews.go.com/US/texas-bridge-collapses-truck-strikes-beam/story?id=29948607