SAN ANTONIO – Scattered metal and debris from a fiery crash on Highway 281 involving an 18-wheeler Wednesday morning is almost all gone, but that doesn't mean the work for repair crews is done.
The Texas Department of Transportation now has the job of ensuring the highway is safe for drivers.
“It’s a major throughway, 281, so when this happened, we knew we had a big case on our hands,” said Hernan Rozemberg, public information officer for TxDOT.
An 18-wheeler crashed into a column that holds up an overhead sign bridge, resulting in huge flames, smoke clouds and debris scattered all over Highway 281 near Hildebrand Avenue, signaling the beginning of a major project for TxDOT.
“The truck skidded along the highway itself, crashing into the column, compromising the integrity of it,” Rozemberg said. “They’ve been able to assess that the damage is bad enough that they're going to have to bring it down and replace it.”
Highway 281 was closed in both directions between the downtown area and the Alamo Quarry as crews worked to carefully take down the overhead sign bridge and damaged supporting column.
“Obviously, the most important thing for us is the safety of the commuters,” Rozemberg said.
TxDOT is putting out an emergency bid to find a contractor to replace the damaged column and overhead sign bridge.
“It could take weeks or up to a couple of months, but traffic will still be able to go through," Rozemberg said.
The price tag for the project is roughly $100,000 to $200,000. Once crews begin working, the repairs are expected to happen at night.