SALADO, Texas (AP) — Interstate 35 in Central Texas reopened Friday as engineers examined debris to determine what led an oversized tractor-trailer to slam into a bridge beam in a construction zone.
Texas Department of Transportation spokesman David Glessner says engineers checked damage to a highway bridge, on which construction was nearly complete before Thursday morning's accident closed a section of the main north-south highway through the state.
The driver of a pickup truck was killed and three other people were hurt, including the driver of the 18-wheeler blamed for the accident. His semi hit a construction beam and brought it down, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Three advisory signs were posted along I-35 leading to the bridge in Salado, about 40 miles north of Austin, indicating clearance of 13 feet, 6 inches, according to Glessner. The actual vertical clearance was slightly over 14 feet, he said.
Authorities believe the truck or its cargo was too tall to pass under the bridge. Several government and law enforcement agencies are investigating, Glessner said.
"Basically the truck was oversized compared to the posted warning signs," Glessner said. Authorities were trying to determine whether the truck or the cargo hooked the beam.
Glessner had no timetable for when work would be completed on the damaged highway span.
"With regard to the structure that was hit, obviously there will be some inspections and we will move forward with trying to correct any damage and move forward with that construction project," he said.