COVINGTON, Ky. — The Brent Spence Bridge will be closed all day on Wednesday, if not longer, after two semitrailers crashed on the lower deck of the bridge in the early morning hours.
By 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, all emergency personnel had been ordered off of the bridge until crews can determine it is structurally sound, according to Covington police Lt. Col. Brian Valenti. The Ohio River has also been closed to water traffic in the area.
If you are looking for the best options for detours to avoid delays due to the accident on the I-75 Brent Spence Bridge & the closure of north & southbound traffic on I-75 we suggest you follow @ODOT & https://t.co/e3RG1cSUEv for updates. For KY go to @KYTCGoKY https://t.co/tjqsDk0F9g
— Cincinnati Police Department (@CincyPD) November 11, 2020
The semitrailers crashed at about 2:45 a.m. as they were traveling in the northbound lanes. The crash caused an enormous fire and chemical spill, and sent thick, black smoke billowing over the top deck of the bridge. The massive fire caused damage to the upper deck of the bridge. No one was injured.
It took firefighters about two hours to put the fire out. One of the trucks was carrying potassium hydroxide, which is used in the production of some soaps, and can be corrosive in moist air to some metals like aluminum, zinc and tin. The chemical caused the fire to burn hotter and longer, but it does not pose a danger to the public, Valenti said.
BREAKING: Massive semi fire has the Brent Spence Bridge closed in both directions. Heavy black smoke is pouring over the Kentucky side. Expect multiple closures on 71/75. @WCPO pic.twitter.com/KpUNC1CSCd
— Adam Schrand (@AdamSchrand) November 11, 2020
Officials said they expect the bridge to be closed until at least Thursday. Police ask that people driving northbound on Interstate 71/75 divert to eastbound Interstate 275 and then to northbound Interstate 471 for now, and vice versa for those traveling south.
A shelter-in-place order was put in place early Wednesday for parts of Covington near the bridge, but it was lifted quickly, according to police.
It's not clear which trucking companies were involved in the crash at this time. The crash remains under investigation.