Big rigs’ oversized loads damage I-25 bridge in Thornton

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THORNTON, Colo. -- You can expect some closures to I-25 in Thornton in the near future.

About 4 p.m. Tuesday, a couple of big rigs caused big damage to the 88th Ave. bridge.
The oversized loads they were hauling were simply too tall--but drove underneath it anyway.

The collision forced the closure of several lanes of traffic late afternoon and evening.

Two semis hauling asphalt silos hit the first of 11 girders that support the bridge. The clearance was 15-feet, 9-inches.

The impact sending concrete debris flying into both directions of I-25.

"Looks like they hit it pretty good," says CDOT worker Mark Carrillo.

The collision forced CDOT to shutdown all but one lane of southbound I-25, and one westbound lane of 88th Ave.

"We pulled onto I-25 at 144th. It was a dead standstill," says Thornton resident Gina Thorne.

And ordinarily that wouldn't be that big of a problem for her.

But Tuesday, Thorne's son, Michael, was celebrating his birthday at Jump Street--an indoor trampoline park.

"Kinda like anxious to get here," says the 12-year-old.

"We finally had to bail at Thornton Parkway. And all the side streets were backed up," says his mother.

That meant they got to his own birthday party 30 minutes late.

Michael was ready to jump to it. And his friends got bored waiting for him.

"It was just like sitting at home with nothing to do," says Michael's friend Alex Schick.
But the wait was much longer for motorists.

Backups stretched five miles on southbound I-25, as CDOT engineers investigate the bridge's safety.

"Right now the damage is contained to the first girder. They could have got in there and got a lot more girders and stuff. So yah, it could have been a lot worse," says Carrillo.

He says the repairs could be as easily as melting the metal back into position or as difficult as replacing the whole girder.

The work could take about a month. It's work they'd do at night to lessen the impact on traffic.

Thornton Police have not issued any citations to the two truckers, but that could change during the course of the investigation.