I-75 overpass in Cincinnati collapses, southbound lanes closed

The collapse of an I-75  overpass, undergoing demolition Monday night, killed one person and injuring another in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Commuter traffic is building up on highways around Cincinnati hours after an interstate overpass undergoing demolition collapsed, killing one person and injuring another.

Reports say traffic is slowing on northbound Interstate 71 coming into Cincinnati from Kentucky and on southbound 71 by the Interstate 275 interchange.

Roads are also getting busy around the University of Cincinnati as drivers attempt detours.

The Cincinnati police chief is urging morning commuters to plan ahead in light of the accident on Interstate 75, one of the main roads into the city.

Police chief Jeff Blackwell asks drivers to stay away from the collapsed overpass on I-75 north of downtown Cincinnati and leave plenty of time to get to work Tuesday.

The truck driver was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center with minor injuries.

"The big-rig driver is very lucky; in a matter of seconds his fate would have probably been different," Blackwell said.

Fire officials said the tractor-trailer struck the collapsed section as the bridge hit the ground. They said the construction worker was killed in the collapse. His name was not immediately released.

The Cincinnati Fire Department said the worker's body was removed early Tuesday, after airbags were used to lift the wreckage.

Blackwell said the city will work with the Department of Transportation to figure out what happened. He said several hundred tons of concrete had to be removed from the road.

The southbound lanes of I-75 would be closed for at least 48 hours, officials said after the accident.

The collapse also caused buses that use I-75 and nearby streets to be rerouted.

A witness told WLWT-TV that he heard "a real big boom" and then a couple of seconds later he saw police cars rushing to the scene.

CIncinnati.com reports:

The "catastrophic pancake collapse" happened about 10:30 p.m. as a crew prepared for demolition of the old Hopple Street overpass, according to a statement from the City of Cincinnati. It was part of the old northbound off-ramp to Hopple Street. The new bridge is now open and remains open.

As the old bridge collapsed to the ground, a semi driver crashed into the rubble almost simultaneously -- some of the debris still falling onto the front of the semi.

The city said it would launch an investigation of what caused the collapse. According to an Enquirer review of federal bridge inspection data, the bridge did not appear to have any structural problems.

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