Crash closes I-94 bridge, creates a bind when rerouted to StillwaterA crash between a semi-trailer truck and car virtually closed the Interstate 94 bridge at Hudson on Sunday night and forced hundreds of vehicles into a time-consuming detour through Stillwater.
A crash between a semi-trailer truck and car virtually closed the Interstate 94 bridge at Hudson on Sunday night and forced hundreds of vehicles into a time-consuming detour through Stillwater.
Even when using the lift bridge, there were delays because of a stoppage for too much truck traffic, and police scouring the Wisconsin side for a suspect - who was initially believed to have jumped from a car -- around midnight. At that time, police still were monitoring the release of traffic, which was backed up for miles, onto the lift bridge, witnesses said.
About a half-hour later, police stated that they had cleared up the matter of the search, and the person had been located.
One reason for the closure, which began around 9 p.m., was release of hazardous waste onto the asphalt, and local dive teams were called in to keep boats from passing under the bridge. An initial attempt was made to reach a Hazmat crew, but instead a call was placed to Hulcher Industries, a Hudson firm which travels across several states to specialize in this kind of work, especially when it involves railroad accidents.
The accident was near the Wisconsin side of the bridge, going eastbound, and the car spun and faced very close to the south wall, forcing the closing of five of six lanes. A second mishap, also involving a semi, occurred later and was close to the Exit 1 ramp.
Two men from Minnesota, who wanted to enjoy the Hudson nightlife and wound up making the last leg of their trip via Stillwater, ended up at Bob Smith's Sports Club, not the other end of the downtown. They said the detour had forced a line of traffic through North Hudson took them a total of an extra 90 minutes.
Jeff Loven, who does a popular one-man band show at Dick's Bar and Grill on Sundays starting at 9:30 p.m., had a delay of almost one hour before he could take the stage.
Some traffic in Stillwater steered clear of Hwy. 36 and instead used Osgood Avenue and got to the bridge much earlier, witnesses said. Road signs warned of the detour as far away as I-694 near Hwy. 36 in Mahtomedi.
I-94 was reopened at about 1 a.m., except for Exit 1 into Hudson, which was marked with lots of signage until later in the morning. Flashing lights from several vehicles could be seen on the accident scene well into the morning.