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Bridge collapses onto highway in Texas, killing at least one

By Danielle Haynes

SALADO, Texas, March 26 (UPI) -- At least one person died and three others were injured after an 18-wheeler truck struck a bridge that then fell onto multiple vehicles on a highway in Texas.

The incident took place around 11:15 a.m. local time in Salado, about 60 miles north of Austin.

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The Texas Department of Transportation said an oversized 18-wheeler truck hit the beams on the Farm-to-Market 2484 overpass, causing the beams to collapse on Interstate 35. The bridge was under construction as part of a project to widen overpasses along the main artery through central Texas.

One of the beams hit a second 18-wheeler truck, causing a fire. At least two other vehicles -- pickup trucks -- were also struck in the collapse, state Trooper Harpin Myers told the Austin American Statesman.

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The Texas Department of Public Safety said at least one person died. Three others were transported to Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas, with injuries not expected to be life-threatening. TxDOT said it's possible the death toll could rise.

Both directions of I-35 were shut down due to the wreckage. TxDOT officials said it would take "several hours" to clear the debris and reopen lanes of traffic.

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TxDOT spokeswoman Veronica Bayer told the Statesman the bridge was 14 feet, 1/2 inch tall, and for two miles leading up to the overpass, there were multiple signs warning drivers there was a clearance of 13 feet, 6 inches.

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"We say it's lower than it actually is," Bayer said. "The truck driver ignored signs that we had that would have indicated that the truck was too tall."

The height of the truck was not reported.

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