From the Indiana Dept of Transportation:

Indiana Department of Transportation bridge engineers say a bridge strike on Jan. 21 in Evansville has compromised the overall integrity of an 80-year-old bridge.

The southbound U.S. 41 truss spanning Pigeon Creek near Diamond Avenue suffered “extensive” damage when a semi, hauling an oversized load missed a turn and failed to stop short of the low-clearance bridge. INDOT crews were on sight the evening of the bridge strike for an initial inspection and made the decision to close the structure. Over the next few days, a more thorough inspection was conducted using a climbing team, drones and other specialized equipment.

The recently completed damage report indicates the structure, built in 1940, suffered major damage to nearly all vertical components and weight bearing connections. Inspectors further reported multiple complete fractures, partial cracks and significant deformation of the steel (which could contain micro-cracks) was present in nearly all of the upper, mid and lower connections – significantly impairing the bridge’s ability to bear normal traffic loads.

Because of the significance of damage, the bridge will be closed indefinitely. Early estimates from the bridge engineering team indicate it could take more than a year to repair the bridge. INDOT has enlisted the services of a consultant to review the reports and determine the next steps at this location. Until that time, INDOT has re-installed the traffic bypass using the Diamond Avenue exit from southbound U.S. 41. Two lanes of traffic will be maintained at all times as a part of this detour.

INDOT urges drivers to slow down and stay alert near crews.

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