Excavator boom damages US-12 overpass

M-51 near Niles in southwest lower Michigan had to be closed on Thursday morning after a crash involving a truck that was hauling an excavator machine. Michigan State Police say that the boom of the excavator was up too high to be able to clear the US-12 overpass on M-51, causing the boom to strike the bridge. It spilled diesel fuel all over the roadway and resulted in damage to the bridge’s girders. Both affected roads in the area were closed for several hours as a result of the incident. State Police are still investigating the circumstances of the crash. The truck driver has not yet been identified.  As a precaution, the right shoulder of eastbound US-12 will remain closed until the beam is either repaired or replaced. Michigan Department of Transportation bridge engineers are planning to do a detailed inspection and examination of the bridge early next week to determine if the beam can be repaired, or if it needs to be replaced. Repairs likely could be performed this year, but a beam replacement project likely would not be completed until the 2016 construction season. There are no cost estimates yet for either beam repair or replacement. The cost to repair the bridge damage will be charged to the driver and his or her insurance company.  (MRN)

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