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Exposed bridge iron punctures vehicle tires

A faulty angle iron caused a rash of flat tires and damaged afew vehicles on Interstate 55 early Thursday morning, localofficials said.

Master Sgt. Albert Johnson, of the Mississippi Highway PatrolTroop M, said his office received eight to 10 reports of flat tiresand a couple of drivers reported vehicle body damage after passingover the bridge in the southbound lane of Interstate 55 near milemarker 48. He said dispatchers began receiving calls around 6:18Thursday morning.

“We got a number of calls and then they ceased,” Johnsonsaid.

Once the calls started rolling in, Johnson said the LincolnCounty substation of the Mississippi Department of Transportation(MDOT) was notified to go out inspect the bridge.

Robert Case, MDOT maintenance supervisor of Lincoln County, saida crew found a faulty angle iron in the southbound lane of thebridge. Workers shut down one lane of the interstate in order torepair the piece of iron that had come unwelded.

An angle iron usually lays flat underneath the cement of theroad, Case said. All bridges are made with them.

Case believes a large heavy truck passed over the iron and bentit just enough to cause it to stick out from underneath theconcrete. As vehicles passed over the angle iron, it puncturedtires and caused them to go flat.

“It (angle iron) broke out during the night,” Case said. “Thecars weren’t able to see it until they were on it.”

The MDOT crew cut the angle iron off and cleared the roadway tomake it safe for drivers, Case said.

Case estimated his crew finished the work around 7:45 a.m.Thursday, at which time they reopened both lanes to southboundtraffic.