Official State of Nebraska Site

I-80 Overpass Collapse & Repair
Near Big Springs, NE
May 23-25, 2003

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Late on the evening of Friday, May 23, 2003, a semi truck left the Interstate and struck the main support post of a county road overpass on I-80. The speed of the impact and the ensuing explosion caused the overpass to collapse onto the Interstate. Both lanes of I-80 were affected.

The Interstate was closed at the accident site and traffic was detoured Saturday and most of Sunday as crews worked around the clock to clear away the damage and return I-80 to a normal traffic flow before Memorial Day dawned.

Westbound traffic resumed late Sunday morning. Eastbound traffic continued to be detoured through most of Sunday as the cleanup continued. After an incredible clean-up effort, eastbound lanes reopened at 11 pm CDT Sunday evening.

 Taken Friday night shortly after the truck left the Interstate and struck the center support of the overpass

Taken Saturday morning as the investigation continued to determine why the truck left the road and struck the support
Two photos at left are
courtesy of Omaha World Herald
Photos taken on Saturday, May 24, 2003
by Roger Klasna - NDOR District 6

One of the other trucks caught by the collapse as it traveled I-80

Fortunately for the driver, the truck cab was not directly under the collapse

Another view of the previous truck

Close-up of the top of one of the other trucks caught in the collapse

View from the county road looking across the damaged overpass 

Aerial view of detoured traffic  

Before the damage could be cleared, sand was brought in to cover and protect the interstate below the collapse

Working on a cushion of sand, the heavy equipment began the job of tearing apart the overpass so it could be hauled away

Another view of the clean-up work as twilight arrived

Generator powered lights were brought in so work could continue around the clock

Another view of efforts to break apart the overpass

The view as night fell on Saturday

Another view of the non-stop clean-up work

Info on Replacement Costs for the Overpass 6-2-2003
Sunday, May 25, 2003
The dump truck photo is by Roger Klasna-NDOR District 6;
all other Sunday photos are by Toby Thomsen - NDOR District 6

Daybreak on Sunday

By Sunday mid-morning enough of the debris  had been removed/relocated to allow one westbound lane to reopen

Much of the wreckage needed to be cut with acetylene torch into more manageable sizes

Another view of the tangled debris

Trucks brought fuel to the work site throughout the two day cleanup

The view around noon


Same view early evening;
completion is only a few hours away

The last of the debris was removed after sundown Sunday. The eastbound lanes were swept clean and I-80 was completely reopened by late that evening.