Alabama bridge reopens

| 2/28/2002

A collapsed Interstate 65 overpass near Birmingham, AL, has reopened following rush repairs seven weeks after a fiery fatal truck crash. Travelers were forced to detour around the heavily traveled route after the wreck.

The I-65 south bridge at the junction with I-20/59 became operational Tuesday, 52 days ahead of schedule. The old bridge was demolished, and construction crews worked around the clock since construction began Jan. 21 to build a new one. With a $25,000-per-day bonus for finishing ahead of schedule, contractors stand to collect a bonus of $1.3 million for finishing the bridge 52 days early.

The bridge was destroyed Jan. 5, when a tanker truck driven by Tim Dison of Killen, TX, jackknifed into the bridge supports after reportedly swerving to avoid a car that had cut in front of him. The crash killed Dison and the resulting heat from the fire caused the steel girders in the overpass to buckle and bend the ramp.