The Interstate 90 bridge that extends over South Highway 59 in Gillette sustained more that $1 million in damage Wednesday morning after being struck by an oversize load headed north on the highway.
No one was hurt in the incident.
Tony Hayworth, 43, of Gillette, was transporting a John Deere excavator track hoe. According to a Wyoming Highway Patrol press release, the boom of the excavator had not been properly loaded and secured.
The boom exceeded the 16-foot, 8-inch height clearance of the underpass, striking the bridge at around 10:10 a.m.
Traffic on I-90 eastbound on the bridge has been diverted to the left passing lane only with a reduced speed of 45 miles per hour as the Wyoming Department of Transportation assesses the damage. No oversize traffic is allowed on the bridge at this time. This closure is indefinite, said Max Morbeto, area supervisor for WYDOT.
Traffic on South Highway 59 also is being diverted and slowed with a portion of the north and south turning lanes closed off as crews clean debris from the bridge, chip away loose concrete around the beams and assess the damage.
Thursday afternoon, a bridge crew from WYDOT will assess the damage, and traffic on Highway 59 should be completely opened sometime Thursday evening, Morbeto said.
Drivers are asked to follow the reduced speed on the bridge as well as the advisory signs on both roads.
The equipment was quickly loaded back onto the semi with minimal damage Wednesday, Morbeto said.
He estimated that it will be about a year before the bridge is fully repaired. One beam will need to be completely replaced and two more will need to be repaired, he said.
Wyoming Highway Patrol, WYDOT, the Gillette Police Department and the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene.