A damaged bridge joint is to blame for the closure of a bridge on Interstate 77 near Exit 14 in Hillsville.
According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, both southbound lanes of I-77 in Carroll are currently blocked at Exit 14 in Hillsville. Traffic is diverting around the closure by using the exit and entrance ramps at Exit 14.
Crews continue working to repair the bridge, pour concrete and patch the roadway on I-77 in Carroll. Weather permitting, VDOT officials said the southbound left lane of I-77 was expected to re-open by 12 a.m. on Tuesday morning. VDOT officials hope to re-open the right lane by late Tuesday morning, but that is less certain right now, VDOT spokesman Jason Bond said.
Virginia State Police 1st Sgt. Mike Musser said troopers would be doing traffic control all day Monday around the closed bridge. He said an expansion joint came loose and damaged some vehicles at approximately 4:30 a.m. Monday morning.
“We didn’t work them as accidents,” Musser said. “Three tractor trailers and one car that ran over the expansion joint that connects the bridge to the regular lane of traffic have tire damage and some suspension damages.”
Musser said no one was injured as a result of the bridge mishap.
Bond said an expansion joint in the bridge made of steel plates was damaged, causing the closure. He said the steel plates are constructed to allow the bridge to expand and contract so there is movement within the steel plates.
“This particular joint we did some repairs on before the snow storm (in late January). It was already damaged. We did some repairs we expected to last maybe a month or so and were going to schedule a more permanent fix to it, have a contractor come in and do some additional work,” Bond said. “We think the repairs didn’t hold, maybe something heavy hit it. A piece of the joint managed to break loose and so we are out there repairing it. To repair it we will have to do some concrete work to get inside the joint to repair it and put that steel plate back. We are trying to salvage that steel plate as much as we can because those are custom-made pieces of that structure. We had been monitoring the joint and we are not sure why those temporary repairs didn’t hold.”
For updates on the southbound I-77 closure, visit www.511Virginia.org
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN