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Semis involved in fiery crash on Brent Spence Bridge, will remain closed for now

Semi crash and fire close Brent Spence Bridge Wednesday morning
Semi crash and fire close Brent Spence Bridge Wednesday morning
Posted at 11:58 AM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 11:58:50-05

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.

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.

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.