Meridian Star

February 13, 2014

All lanes of I-20 bridge reopened

The Associated Press
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi River bridge on Interstate 20 at Vicksburg, Miss., reopened late Wednesday after a chain-reaction crash shut it down for hours.

Louisiana State Trooper Albert Paxton said the eastbound and westbound lanes of the bridge reopened about 7:30 p.m. The four-lane bridge runs between Vicksburg and Delta, La.

An 18-wheeler skidded on ice and crashed into a railing at about 4 a.m. At least four other tractor-trailer rigs followed.

Paxton said a tanker was carrying a waste flammable liquid corrosive — N.O.S. acetonitrile, sodium hydroxide — that leaked into the river but it was not immediately clear how much. Crews plugged the leak about 12:30 p.m., he said.

The National Weather Service posted winter weather advisories for much of central and north Louisiana and central and north Mississippi ahead of a winter storm that dumped rain, sleet, snow and ice in both states Wednesday.

The weather caused extensive outages in Cleco's service territory in central Louisiana. The hardest hit areas were Rapides, Avoyelles and Grant parishes. It was not clear when power would be restored.

At least two traffic fatalities in north Mississippi on Tuesday were attributed to the storm system.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol said David Watson Sr., 67, of Carrollton, died in a one-vehicle accident on Mississippi Highway 35 in Carroll County. Troopers said Watson's car hit an icy patch on the road and overturned several times. Watson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Also Tuesday, Tara N. Pugh, 27, of Reform, Ala., died when her Jeep Wrangler apparently skidded after crossing an icy bridge in U.S. Highway 82 in Lowndes County and rolled down an embankment.

The Highway Patrol said it has handled almost 300 accidents since Tuesday and dozens more have been reported by city and county law enforcement agencies.