All six lanes of Interstate 85 are open again outside Spartanburg after they were shut down entirely Thursday morning after a truck knocked down an electronic message board.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol said the truck ran off the road and struck the support for the message board that gives AMBER Alerts and traffic information.
The truck’s driver, New Jersey native Rafael Lopez, has been ticketed with driving too fast for conditions.
“He apparently attempted to make a lane change (and) lost control of the vehicle,” said Highway Patrol spokesman Lance Corp. Billy Rhyne, “Whether it was water on the road from the rain earlier or what, he was not able to maintain control of his vehicle. He ran off the right-hand side of the road and that’s when he struck the pole, bringing the entire sign structure down on the interstate.”
No one was hurt, although the truck was too damaged to drive.
SCDOT crews removed the message board, then took the structure apart. “They took a torch and physically cut it into pieces so they could load it on a tractor trailer in order to remove all that from the interstate so we could get traffic flowing again,” Rhyne said.
The message board collapsed into the northbound lanes after it was hit. Officials were afraid it could also fall into the southbound lanes, so they closed both directions.
The incident happened near I-85’s junction with Business I-85 on the western edge of Spartanburg.