Despite tractor-trailer crash, bridge suffers minimal damage

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Avenue B bridge in Bogalusa was shut down for several hours mid-day Saturday after a tractor-trailer hit it, but public works director James Hall said there was little damage to the structure.

“Saturday morning (around) 10:30, we had a container truck full of rolls of paper from IP, and it was headed west on Willis Avenue,” he said. “(The driver) tried to make a north turn on the Avenue B bridge with the oncoming traffic still coming. At that point, all he could do was get the cab around. The trailer was still too close to the bridge and it hit the bridge.”

Bogalusa Police Chief Joe Culpepper identified the driver as Karlton Clegg. Culpepper said Clegg, from Maryland, was driving for Eagle Logistics Services.

Hall said at first the truck’s tire blew out and Clegg thought he was being shot at. But then the axle ripped from the underside of the truck and the driver realized he had hit the curb and part of the bridge.

The bridge and curb suffered only minor scraping.

“Thank goodness it was a concrete bridge instead of a wooden bridge,” Hall said. “On the southeast corner there’s a big concrete barrier, which you have to have, and it worked.”

Culpepper said Clegg was given no citations, and noted that the truck wasn’t badly damaged. Culpepper said when police first arrived the scene, they shut down the bridge because it was assumed the trailer would be inoperable and the whole rig would have to be unloaded and loaded onto another truck. Culpepper said Clegg was hauling 38,000 pounds of paper.

“I told the shift captain they’d have to unload the trailer and it would have been a fiasco,” Culpepper said.

However, Culpepper said the wrecker service was able to re-attach the axle, and the truck was able to drive away on its own power.