HAPPENING NOW: Work underway to demolish damaged Georgia bridge; interstate still closed

TREUTLEN COUNTY, Ga. — A major Georgia interstate will be shut down for days after a truck caused a bridge to shift six feet.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said Interstate 16 is completely closed from Exit 71 to Exit 78 in Treutlen County.

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GDOT officials said a dump truck with its trailer up hit the Georgia 86 bridge and shifted it. Engineers said they have never seen this before.

We’re continuing to follow every update of this developing story -- Stay with Channel 2 Action News for new details

If you’re driving from Atlanta to Savannah, officials told Channel 2′s Tony Thomas that drivers should expect to add at least 90 minutes to their drive to get through the 13-mile detour.

At the moment, GDOT expects I-16 to be blocked in both directions at least through Saturday. Kevin and Elaine West thought Atlanta’s notorious traffic would be the bottleneck in their trip from Savannah for what is usually a very uneventful ride across I-16.

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“It’s just a mess, because you don’t know anything. You turn right, they turn left. It’s just, like, a mess,” Elaine West said.

The wreck happened about halfway between Macon and Savannah, knocking the Route 86 bridge off its base by about six feet.

For hours the back end of the truck sat lodged into the concrete.

GDOT contractors remain at the scene but say it will be at least Saturday before they can get any interstate lanes open.

“We are hoping to get both (sides) open so we can get traffic moving and not clogging up small towns,” GDOT’s Kyle Collins said.

For the next couple of weeks, only one lane in each direction might be open, so GDOT is warning anyone heading to the coast or back to find another route if possible.

That warning was too late for the Wests, who saw more of Georgia than they wanted Thursday.

“We saw country we’ve never seen. It’s pretty back there but I don’t want to see it again for a while, I’ll put it that way,” Kevin West said.

The driver reportedly survived the wreck. It is still unclear why the back of his truck was in the “up” position.

Work is underway to bring the bridge down entirely by Saturday and leave it that way for a while.

Their immediate goal is to get the interstate reopened.

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