Two people were killed and at least 10 injured Monday when a rural Mississippi highway collapsed in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
Heavy rainfall from Ida may have been responsible for the collapse of the two-lane highway located west of Lucedale. Mississippi Highway Patrol Cpl. Cal Robertson said the drivers may not have seen that the roadway in front of them had disappeared because there are no street lights in the area.
“You can imagine driving at night with heavy rain coming down,” Robertson said. “It’s just nothing but a wall of water, your headlights kind of reflecting back on you.”
Reports from the National Weather Service say Ida dropped 13 inches of rain on the area as it tore through Mississippi.
State troopers, emergency workers, and rescue teams responded to the crash site about 60 miles northeast of Biloxi, to find both east and westbound lanes collapsed. Robertson said the hole removed about 50 to 60 feet of roadway and is 20 to 30 feet deep.
The vehicles, which were stacked on top of each other, had to be removed individually by crane.
“It is a slide, which means the ground under the roadway and embankment was super-saturated and we can tell right now that’s what caused the slide,” Kelly Castleberry, district engineer for the Mississippi Department of Transportation said.
Mississippi southern district Transportation Commissioner Tom King said that he didn’t know of any unusual soil conditions at the point of collapse.
“We just got bombarded here in south Mississippi with rain,” he said.
King said work crews were checking other highways in the areas that received heavy rain from Ida.
“It’s going to take us a while to redo it and make it right again and make it safe for folks to go over,” King said.
Hurricane Ida crashed ashore Sunday as a Category 4 storm, one of the most powerful storms to hit the U.S., causing widespread flooding.