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I-70 reopens after multi-vehicle crash at Rocheport bridge

Officials working to remove cattle from a semi in the westbound lanes of the Rocheport bridge on June 6, 2023.
Boone County Fire Protection District
Officials working to remove cattle from a semi in the westbound lanes of the Rocheport bridge on June 6, 2023.

A multi-vehicle crash on the Rocheport bridge closed eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 70 for nearly six hours Tuesday.

The crash in the westbound lanes on the bridge was first reported just after 10 a.m. and lanes reopened around 3:45 p.m., the Missouri Department of Transportation said. The eastbound driving lane also closed to allow response vehicles to assist with clearing the crash.

Around 5:00 p.m. Boone County Joint Communications sent out a tweet that I-70 at the Missouri River bridge is open.

Traffic was backed up to the 128 mile marker (Highway 63/I-70 connector) in the westbound lanes and to the 108 mile marker in the eastbound lanes, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Gale Blomenkamp, Boone County assistant fire chief, said there were two semis and three vehicles involved.

Dave Gehm, Cooper County fire chief, said the crash was a chain reaction when one of the drivers braked and the vehicle behind couldn't brake fast enough.

One semi was full of cattle, which had to be unloaded and reloaded onto other trailers, Blomenkamp said. The other semi was packed with beer and was also unloaded before crews could clear the vehicles.

Gehm said Boone County sent a brush truck to cool down the 55 cows while crews worked to empty the semis.

Gehm said "at least one, possibly up to three cows jumped over the bridge," and a veterinarian was dispatched to the scene.

At least one person was injured. Gehm said crews had to cut the roof off of one of the trucks involved in the crash to get the driver out. He said the driver had serious injuries to his back and was taken to a local hospital.

All westbound traffic near mile marker 116 was diverted to U.S. Route 40 at exit 121 during the closure, MoDOT said.

About 5:45 p.m. Missouri State Highway Patrol F sent out a tweet that a crash on U.S. 40, north of Boonville, is causing backup for bridge crash traffic that exited I-70.

Columbia Public Schools sent an alert to families Tuesday afternoon that summer school buses may be delayed as a result of the crash.

Lunda Construction Co., which is constructing the new bridge, was also at the scene and assisted emergency crews.

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