By Michael Davis
One person was killed Tuesday when a tractor trailer slammed into a bridge support along Interstate 75 just before 11 a.m., police said, and traffic was backed up for hours as motorists were routed onto surface streets in Henry County.
The truck was traveling northbound when it collided with a concrete support for the bridge at Walt Stephens Road over I-75 on the right shoulder. Police said the driver was killed.
The driver was not identified pending the notification of relatives.
Investigators spent most of the afternoon on the scene, which blocked I-75 northbound for several hours. The state Department of Transportation said it was investigating the stability of the bridge but preliminary findings indicated it was safe for passage underm and I-75 was opened later Tuesday afternoon.
An formal assessment however, has to be made to determine if the bridge is safe for cars to pass over, said Dorothy Daniel, a spokeswoman for the DOT. She did not know how long that would take, and Tuesday evening, the bridge was still closed.
Another DOT spokeswoman reported a nine-mile back up on I-75.
Traffic traveling northbound on I-75 spilled onto surface streets in Henry County including the already-busy Jodeco Road, and Ga. Highways 20 and 42, and others. The streets swelled with cars during the afternoon rush hour.
Paul Gaffney, who owns a cafe on the downtown McDonough Square, said tractor trailer trucks filled the city's downtown area most of the day.
“Tractor trailer trucks all day, coming through the Square,” he said. “All different directions.”
Cars were seen backed up in the eastbound lanes of Ga. Highway 20 from the Square to the interstate Tuesday afternoon.
A police spokesman did not indicate a cause in the accident Tuesday afternoon, and no other vehicles were apparently involved.