COVINGTON, Ky. (WKRC) - Interstate-75 northbound and southbound was shut down at the Brent Spence Bridge early Wednesday due to a truck fire. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said he expects it to remain closed for several days, if not longer. He added it was too early to speculate the impact the fire had on the bridge.
Police say it started at 2:45 a.m. when a semi jackknifed in the northbound lanes. The semi hauling 110 pounds of potassium hydroxide then hit that truck and burst into flames.
The truck also had a large amount of diesel fuel.
The flames shot up to the southbound lanes. It took more than two hours to put out the fire.
Authorities confirmed that the fire was out around 7 a.m.
The bridge is still expected to be closed for hours as reconstruction and cleanup begin.
Covington Fire Chief Mark Pierce said there's a lot to do before officials can even think about reopening the bridge.
"It's going to take them a while to separate the vehicles. The bridge inspector has to do their job to determine how much damage was done to the bridge before they can open that up safely."
As of noon, Beshear said the bridge was still too hot for an inspection. The inspectors won't be able to inspect the bridge until it's safe to do so.
"We are committed, fully committed to getting it back into service but the safety of the public and of our and Ohio's employees are absolutely critical. So, in the next we hope hours, maybe longer, we're going to need your patience. That patience is necessary is to make sure we don't send anybody on that bridge to do the inspection or to clean up the debris until we know they're going to be ok."
Police also closed I-75/71 northbound at I-275 in Kentucky. River traffic downtown has also been shut down. Cincinnati Police warn tractor-trailer drivers they can't cross the river on the Roebling Suspension Bridge.
Beshear suggested that employers start making plans, With the pandemic, Beshear said he hoped many people were already working from home. Those who aren't need to prepare. He suggested spreading out scheduled to lessen the impact on traffic.
He said there will be another update later Wednesday afternoon.
Cincinnati Police have also barricaded access to I-75 south in downtown and are warning drivers not to go around the barricades. They're also rerouting southbound traffic on I-75 to Ft. Washington Way to I-71 north or I-471.
No injuries have been reported.
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