Bridge traffic stalls after minor accident

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ERIC SHELTON/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Mississippi Department of Transportation workers and emergency personnel help remove a portion of an oil platform attached to an industrial truck Monday afternoon, after the structure hit the railroad bridge near the Mississippi River bridge as it was traveling into Natchez.

NATCHEZ — An oil platform hauled on a tractor-trailer crossing the eastbound bridge over the Mississippi River struck the railroad bridge Monday afternoon delaying traffic for more than two hours and stranding drivers on the bridge.

Bud Vines, a Mississippi Department of Transportation supervisor, said the platform on the truck was too tall and struck the railroad bridge damaging both the bridge and the oil platform.

Vines said clean-up was lengthy because a crane had to be brought in to put the oil platform back on the truck.

Natchez and Vidalia police officers and MDOT responded to the accident. While officials worked to clear the scene, the west bound bridge was opened to two-way traffic.

Natchez Police Chief Mike Mullins said there were no injuries and no other vehicles involved or damaged in the accident.

Synethia Washington was stuck on the bridge for an hour and a half. She said she and other motorists on the bridge were worried the bridge would collapse because of the weight of all the cars.

“I was panicking,” she said. “Everybody was panicking and asking if they could turn around.”

Washington said the accident took too long to resolve, and she did not think Natchez was properly prepared for emergencies on the bridge.