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News Story
Updated: 12/18/2013 07:36:10PM

Wreck closes I-75

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SUN PHOTO BY ELAINE ALLEN-EMRICH
Southbound motorists were detoured Wednesday off Interstate 75 at River Road, clogging U.S. 41 through North Port with traffic to the Sumter Boulevard detour all day.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY ABC-7
Florida Department of Transportation workers assess damage to the Ponce De Leon overpass in North Port Wednesday after a dump truck with its bed raised struck it in the early morning hours.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY DANA SPEER
This dump truck driven by Bonnie D. Ramsingh of North Miami slammed into the Ponce De Leon bridge on Interstate 75 southbound at 2:35 a.m. Wednesday.

Bonnie D. Ramsingh

PHOTO PROVIDED BY AMANDA NELSON
Southbound traffic on Interstate 75 was described as a "parking lot" late Wednesday morning, backed up to Jacaranda Boulevard. It took some motorists almost an hour to get to River Road, and another 45 minutes on U.S. 41 to the Sumter Boulevard detour.

SUN PHOTO BY ELAINE ALLEN-EMRICH
The Ponce De Leon Boulevard bridge in North Port was blocked to local traffic Wednesday.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY ABC-7
Florida Department of Transportation workers assess damage to the Interstate 75 overpass at mile marker 184 in North Port Wednesday.

SUN PHOTO BY ELAINE ALLEN-EMRICH
A Sarasota County Sheriff's deputy races around traffic to go to one of several crashes on U.S. 41 caused by the backup.

By DREW WINCHESTER

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NORTH PORT — Thousands of motorists were delayed by hours on Wednesday following an early morning, single-vehicle accident in which a dump truck struck the Ponce De Leon Boulevard overpass in the southbound lanes of Interstate 75, causing significant damage to a beam.

Traffic was rerouted down River Road through North Port to Sumter Boulevard, but that detour was again rerouted to Toledo Blade Boulevard after a vehicle caught fire at Sumter and Price boulevards late Wednesday afternoon. I-75 was reopened around 4 p.m., but according to Dave Parks, a Florida Department of Transportation spokesman for the interstate widening project currently under way, the nine-mile section of southbound I-75 that was closed on Wednesday will be shut down again Thursdayfor 12 hours starting at 7 p.m., to continue to work on the damaged beam. The overpass at mile marker 184 is safe to drive under, but not safe to drive on, Parks said. The beam was being wrapped in what Parks described as a “durable fabric diaper” that prevents concrete from falling into the roadway. Tonight’s work will involve removing the beam, Parks said, adding that a new support structure could be in place by this weekend.

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