Truckers and other drivers along Interstate 16 in central Georgia should expect delays after a crash shifted an overpass in Treutlen County.

Related: ‘Painful mess’: I-40 bridge closure costing trucking industry $1M daily

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), a hopper hit the Georgia State Route 86 overpass and dislodged it 6 feet. It happened around 1 a.m. EDT Thursday west of the U.S. Highway 221/GA-56 exit.

GDOT officials said I-16 is closed in both directions from exits 71 to 78. Signage for detours will be installed, and GDOT contractors and engineers are inspecting the bridge.

The Georgia State Patrol (GSP) told WGXA-TV in Macon that its Swainsboro office was asked to investigate the accident.

GSP said a tractor-trailer pulling the hopper was heading west when the trailer went into the lift position and hit the overpass. GSP added that this impact shifted the entire overpass and that the truck separated and crashed after going through the median. The driver wasn’t hurt.

An accident that dislodged the State Route 86 overpass forced the I-16 closure in Treutlen County, Georgia, on Thursday. (Photo: GDOT)

A report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry told the State Transportation Board there’s no estimated time for reopening I-16. He said demolition of the bridge will start in earnest Thursday or Friday, suggesting the highway will not reopen anytime soon.

McMurry said GDOT will focus on restoring westbound I-16 traffic first to aid freight moving out of the Port of Savannah. About 21,000 vehicles use the stretch of highway each day.

“Our goal is to, obviously, have this bridge removed so I-16 traffic can be restored as quickly as possible,” McMurry told the board.

Westbound detour

Take Exit 78.
Turn right onto U.S. Highway 221 North.
Turn left onto U.S. Highway 80 West and go through the town of Adrian.
Turn left onto Georgia State Route 15.
Reenter I-16 at Exit 71.

Eastbound detour

Take Exit 71.
Turn right onto Georgia State Route 15 through Soperton.
Turn left onto Georgia State Route 46.
Turn left onto Georgia State Route 56.
Reenter I-16 at Exit 78.

GDOT is encouraging drivers to find alternate routes beyond the suggested detours.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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