Road crews inspect the damaged overpass Monday morning. (Nick Greenizan photo)

UPDATE: 152 Street overpass still closed after being struck by truck on Highway 99

South Surrey impact ‘sounded like a bomb going off’

5:22 a.m. update on Tuesday, Dec. 5: Drive BC says the 152nd Street overpass remains closed in both directions. The northbound left lane on Highway 99 is open, while the right northbound lane is closed.

The 152 Street overpass over Highway 99 was closed Monday following damage that occurred earlier in the day, when a semi truck towing a trailer – described in a ministry of transportation news release as “an over-height commercial vehicle” – hit it while travelling north on the highway.

The incident – which occured just after 10 a.m. Monday – affected traffic throughout the area; both northbound lanes of the highway were closed for the remainder of the day while the damage was assessed, and remained shut off to traffic until 5 a.m. Tuesday, when one northbound lane was open for the morning commute.

The impact, according to the ministry, damaged three of the bridge’s girders.

“With the help of structural engineers, ministry crews braced the structure in order to have one of the northbound lanes re-opened to traffic,” the release notes. The second lane remained closed Tuesday due to structural supports occupying the lane.

One witness at the scene, who was at a nearby coffee shop at the time of the incident, told Peace Arch News, “It was a loud bang, like a bomb going off… just incredible.”

About four blocks north of the damaged overpass, the truck-and-trailer could be seen pulled off to the side of the highway. Debris – chunks of concrete, as well as pieces of the truck and its cargo – was also strewn along the road shortly after the impact.

The overpass itself, while not immediately closed to traffic after being struck, was eventually shut down, and remained so Tuesday morning. While updates from the ministry of transportation and infrastructure were posted online every few hours Monday and into Tuesday morning, it was not immediately known when the overpass would re-open.

The road closures caused much grief for drivers Monday afternoon. Northbound traffic on the highway was diverted at 16 Avenue; by noon, northbound traffic along King George Boulevard had backed up considerably, and Croydon Drive – which, for a stretch, runs parallel to Highway 99 – was also slowed by heavy traffic.

Once repairs are complete, the ministry will “work with ICBC” to recoup costs of the damage, according to the release. Ministry officials encouraged motorists to check back to drivebc.ca for future updates.

The next update is scheduled for 11 a.m.

– with files from Tracy Holmes

 

From below, a member of the road crew inspects damage to the 152 Street overpass. (Nick Greenizan photo)

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