Highway AH Overpass Damage

Highway AH overpass damage.

The Highway AH bridge over Interstate 44 is partly closed after a dump truck collided with it early Wednesday, Oct. 7.

The crash seriously injured the driver of the 2020 Western Star dump truck, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Belinda M. Whitlock, 52, of St. Clair, was driving west in the left lane at 4:51 a.m. when the bed of the dump truck, which was extended, collided with the bottom of the bridge.

Whitlock was taken by ambulance to Mercy Hospital Washington.

Richard R. McFarlane, 36, the driver of a 2020 Freightliner semitruck that was struck by debris from the collision, had minor injuries.

The crash knocked two girders on the bottom of the bridge out of alignment.

“I don’t know if anyone’s seen pictures, but they’re deformed pretty badly,” Stephen O’Connor, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) area engineer for Franklin and Jefferson counties, told a Thursday meeting of the Franklin County Transportation Committee.

The bridge was closed through the weekend. On Monday, workers opened one lane across, putting in temporary traffic signals to control access. “They’re trying to come up with a solution on how to fix it,” O’Connor said.

Traffic on the interstate below is not being impacted at this time.

The Highway AH bridge is a connection between St. Clair and the growing Prairie Dell area of Union. It also serves as an alternate route for people looking to avoid traffic on Highway 47.

The dump truck was working on the overlay project on I-44 between St. Clair and the St. Louis County line, O’Connor said.

Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker said the collision with the bridge was like a “WWE body slam.”

St. Clair City Administrator Travis Dierker said he was told the estimated cost to repair the bridge would be more than $500,000.

Others said the cost would likely be higher.

“The company is going to pay for it or their insurance,” Brinker said.