Interstate 15 Could be Closed for Weeks

By Beacon Staff

GREAT FALLS – State Department of Transportation officials say damage to a bridge over Interstate 15 could keep the northbound lanes of the roadway closed for weeks.

A backhoe being towed on a flatbed trailer smashed into the bridge — between the 10th Avenue south and Central Avenue exits near Great Falls — Saturday evening. The backhoe broke through two of the five beams that support the bridge and damaged a third.

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Mike Flood says the man towing the backhoe had just rented it from an equipment yard.

Flood says the driver will be cited, but it wasn’t immediately clear what the charges will be. A permit is required to haul a load more than 14 feet, 6 inches tall. Flood says the backhoe was well over that height and the driver did not have a permit.

MDT is working on a crossover for northbound traffic to use one of the southbound lanes of the Interstate, and the bridge will be closed until a bridge inspector can determine if it is safe.

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