Icy bridge takes South Mississippi drivers by surprise

Icy bridge takes South Mississippi drivers by surprise

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A South Mississippi bridge that connects Hwy. 67 to Hwy. 49 shut down Monday morning due to icy conditions. What can drivers do to stay safe on the roadways this winter season?

It's not something many drivers are used to in South Mississippi.

"When we get something like this, people are not familiar with driving on it, and it causes accidents pretty quickly," said Thomas Muffler with the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Vehicle accidents start popping up as soon as the right conditions combine. For a handful of drivers who tried to cross the bridge Monday morning, these conditions were a concoction of damage and inconvenience.

Michael Lee remembered some morning indications that the roads may not have been the safest.

"I knew I had ice on the windshield, and I knew I was going to have to slow down," said Lee.

Even slowing down didn't stop the collisions once these vehicles hit the Hwy. 67 overpass at Hwy. 49. The bridge had to be shut down because of the slick ice.

According to Muffler, bridges icing over is a simple matter of physics.

"The ground holds the heat a lot longer than these overpasses. You've got wind and cold air that gets underneath the overpass, so it causes it to freeze over faster," said Muffler.

Drivers said they didn't anticipate losing control.

"While I was driving, I hit an ice patch and slid into the rail of the bridge," said Dana Jeffcoat while standing beside his vehicle on the side of the bridge.

Jeffcoat busted his tire and bent his front bumper, but was thankful that he and the other drivers didn't get hurt.

"We don't really deal with ice and stuff that much. Really watch yourself. Maybe slow down a little bit more than you would when it's cold," said Jeffcoat.

Slowing down and using more caution is something he said he'll definitely do next time ice potentially threatens his drive.

MDOT coated the bridge with rock salt to melt the ice down. The bridge was reopened shortly after that, but crews are keeping an eye on it and other bridges in South Mississippi overnight.

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