Covering Louisiana

Feb 12, 2014 11:36 AM by AP

Crash shuts down I-20 bridge amid icy weather

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A chain-reaction accident has shut down the icy Mississippi River bridge on Interstate 20 at Vicksburg, Miss.

The accident occurred around 4 a.m. Wednesday when an 18-wheeler skidded on the ice and crashed into a railing. At least four other tractor-trailer rigs were involved in the accident.

Louisiana State Trooper Albert Paxton said the tanker is leaking a corrosive liquid that is flammable, and it's leaking into the river. He said Hazmat crews are working to stop the leak.

The four-lane bridge was closed in each direction. The bridge runs between Vicksburg, Miss., and Delta, La. It was expected to be closed for several hours.

Traffic was being diverted unto U.S. Highway 61 South to cross the Mississippi River at Natchez.

Troopers say roads and bridges in the Monroe area were icy Wednesday morning and a number of on and off ramps to I-20 were closed.

In the Shreveport area, highway officials closed several roads including Interstate 49 from south Shreveport to I-20. I-49 from Shreveport to the Arkansas line remained closed.

Troopers across north Louisiana handled several accidents overnight with only minor injuries.

Freezing rain is causing extensive outages in Cleco's service territory in central Louisiana.

Officials said trees and tree limbs incased in ice are falling, causing more than 27,500 outages statewide. The hardest hit areas are Rapides, Avoyelles and Grant parishes.

Anthony Bunting, vice president of transmission and distribution operations, said in a news release there were more than 18,500 outages in Rapides, 7,000 in Avoyelles and 1,200 in Grant parishes.

Bunting had no estimate when power would be restored.

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