The Highway 39 bridge at Shell Knob was open to one lane of traffic on Tuesday morning following a crash that caused significant damage to the bridge superstructure on Monday afternoon.
According to Rusty Rickard, fire chief at the Central Crossing Fire Protection District, responders were called to the scene of a single-vehicle crash on the bridge at about 3 p.m. on Monday. The driver of a 1994 Peterbilt pulling trailer, Brian L. Easley, 40, of Exeter, had started across the bridge when his load shifted. The elevated load struck the bridge superstructure and caused significant damage to the bridge.
"We were able to clear the bridge and open one lane of traffic last night about 8 p.m.," Rickard said. "It is open to one lane of traffic today [Tuesday]."
Rickard said Missouri Department of Transportation engineers wer on scene today to determine the extent of damage to the structure and whether it was safe to keep the bridge open to traffic.
"They are figuring out ow to make repairs and keep it open to one lane," Rickard said. "It will certainly put a damper in things if they have to shut it down."
Rickard said the bridge is the only access across the city of Shell Knob. The Central Crossing Bridge is a major link to Arkansas for workers and tourists.
"We cover 135 square miles of territory," Rickard said. "About 10 miles of that territory is from the bridge to the Arkansas line.
"We have fire protection in the area, and firemen that live on that side of the bridge, but it would be difficult if they had to respond without backup."
Easley was hauling scrap metal for Slinkards RPM of Cassville.