January 25, 2018 6:12 pm
Updated: January 25, 2018 6:14 pm

Overpass to Millet closed indefinitely after crash last week

A southbound semi went off the QEII Highway and struck the Highway 616 overpass near Millet on Wednesday morning. Jan. 17, 2017.

Supplied by RCMP

A collision last Wednesday on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway just west of Millet, Alta. could be a major blow to commuters and residents of the town.

Crews were called to the Highway 616 overpass after a semi trailer crashed into the overpass support and caught fire.

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Terry Pelletier, chief administrative officer, told iNews880 that Alberta Transportation has said the bridge is closed indefinitely. It will be at least a month before an assessment will be completed.

“It’s a large inconvenience — not only to people visiting our town — but also our residents that want to leave town or to go to their jobs and such,” Pelletier said. “I just hope that Alberta Transportation is able to come up with a workable solution – quickly!”

READ MORE: Semi truck carrying milk crashes, catches fire on QEII south of Edmonton

She added the main concern is related to emergency first responders.

“Our volunteer fire department attends many motor vehicle accidents, incidences along Highway 2, and this is going to severely impair that,” explains Pelletier.

The overpass is the most direct access to town from the QEII, which could impact visits by tourists to the town.

The route is also used by townspeople who commute to Edmonton for work.

The closure could also impact schools and school buses that pick up rural kids, businesses and business investment, if the closure lasts a long time.

READ MORE: Blown tire causes serious collision, major delays on QEII near Lacombe

Alberta Transportation spokesperson Wayne Wood said the assessment is ongoing. He said staff are waiting for better weather to remove some of the damaged concrete and soot from the girdirs from the fire.

“That will allow us to complete a very detailed inspection of the structure and then we’ll know exactly where we’re at as to how long repairs will take and how long the structure will be closed.”

After the assessment is completed, Wood said they’ll determine whether lighter traffic could be allowed over the overpass or if the highway would need to remain completely closed.

Millet town council voted to draft a letter to Alberta Transportation explaining how the closure will hurt the town and surrounding area. The County of Wetaskiwin and the summer villages surrounding Pigeon Lake are also considering sending a letter to the province about the closure.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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