ST. MARTIN PARISH, La. (WAFB) - I-10 W reopened Wednesday, Aug. 28 around 3 p.m. after five 18-wheelers crashed on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge on Monday, Aug. 26.
Initially, Louisiana State Police reported there were no fatalities as a result of the wreck, however, one body was later discovered on the scene. The crashed claimed the life of truck driver, Christopher McGee, 31, of Youngstown, Fla. McGee was driving a truck that became engulfed in flames.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) conducted bridge inspections Wednesday morning before the roadway was reopened. Inspector with DOTD determined there is no damage under the bridge and it is structurally sound and safe for drivers to travel. However, some minor repairs are needed, DOTD says. Officials say the fire caused spalling on the bridge deck, resulting in some of the surface concrete to crack and flake off. DOTD says this kind of damage is common after a prolonged fire.
DOTD says it’s working to get a contractor to make the repairs to the concrete as quickly as possible. The contractor will remove the top layer of the bridge deck and re-pour concrete.
“Anytime there is a fatality on our roadways, it’s a tragedy,” said DOTD Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson. “We appreciate everyone’s patience during this event and would also like to thank the communities and our law enforcement partners along US 190 who saw additional traffic after this tragic crash. Most of the crashes on I-10 between Lafayette and Baton Rouge can be attributed to distracted driving and it would be beneficial for all travelers to concentrate on the road while operating a vehicle, drive the posted speed limit, buckle up, don’t drive impaired and be considerate of other drivers.”
A red car and five 18-wheelers ended up in a fiery, tangled mess along I-10 W between Baton Rouge and Lafayette on Monday, Aug. 26 around 2 p.m. Some of the vehicles in the pileup came to rest facing the opposite direction. It’s not yet known what caused the pileup.
LSP later issued an evacuation within a half mile radius from the crash site. As of 6 a.m.
According to LSP, two of the 18-wheelers involved were carrying flammable materials. A hazmat team responded to the scene to offload the chemicals.
The call initially went out as a single vehicle wreck in which a car lost control and hit the rail of the bridge. The two 18-wheelers then collided, LSP says, causing a pileup. In total, five 18-wheelers were involved, including three tankers and two cargo trucks, as well as the one passenger vehicle.