HIDEAWAY, TX (KLTV) - The FM 849 bridge at Interstate 20 just north of Tyler is closed indefinitely. Police said a tractor-truck towing a flat bed trailer with an oil tanker on it was traveling westbound when the tanker struck the underside of the overpass. It crashed through the concrete median and ended up in the eastbound lanes. Authorities are still uncertain if the bridge itself was damaged, but the Texas Department of Transportation is inspecting it.
"Well, at this point we are waiting for our bridge engineers to get here and they will assess the damage done to the FM 849 bridge at I-20 and take it from there," Texas Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Kathi White said.
Last week, Smith County commissioners approved a courtesy request from TxDOT to close the bridge for repair and replacement. TxDOT isn't ready to build but the construction is expected to take nine months.
Interstate 20 is currently open while the overpass remains closed. According to TxDOT, engineers are en route to assess the damages to the bridge. For now, commuters traveling towards the Hideaway community area are able to travel eastbound down the access road and turn around at the next ramp.
"Obviously I-20 is a major corridor and it's heavily traveled; so at this point we are going to continue moving traffic as it is. We will ask people to [...] avoid it if they can, that way they can avoid delays. But as we assess the damage then we will go from there," she said.
TxDOT officials said that drivers should expect to see detour routes put in place soon.