Homosassa, FL–At approximately 9:30 AM on Thursday, August 31st, a 2005 Grader owned by Citrus County was involved in a single-vehicle accident that took place on the Halls River Road bridge. According to a Florida Highway Patrol report, the heavy equipment operator first made contact with the outside concrete barrier to the right, then crashed into the inside concrete barrier to the left, and ultimately crashed through the outside concrete barrier, jutting over the edge of the bridge.
Communicating this message through a Facebook post, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office put out this message via the Alert Citrus system, “There has been a construction related accident on the Halls River bridge and at this time the bridge is completely impassable. This will cause a delay to responding to residents in this area. We are utilizing other resources such as launching boats from the fire departments to ensure emergency services are available to those in need. Citrus County Road Maintenance and the construction company are working together to stabilize the incident and return travel to the bridge as quickly as possible. If you are in need of emergency services please call 911 immediately so we can coordinate a response to you. Thank you.”
The message was only sent out to residents in the affected area.
The Halls River bridge is currently a one-way bridge under construction.
According to CCSO officials, the bridge will be reopened as soon as a bridge inspection deems the roadway safe and outside concrete barriers are placed in their proper positions. Initial time estimates place the reopening of the bridge within a day.
Soon after CCSO posted on Facebook, concerned parents turned to CCSO and to the Citrus County School District for answers, as witnessed by comments on the CCSO Facebook page.
Citrus County Schools quickly adopted an action plan, contacted affected parents by phone call, and issued a statement to local media agencies detailing what the call stated, as quoted below.
“We are aware of an incident causing the closure of Halls River Road bridge. The information we have at this time indicates the bridge will not be open. If you have not made arrangements to pick up your child, we are asking parents to meet the bus at Fish Bowl and Halls River Road to pick up their child.
Crystal High School and Crystal Middle School bus number 2005-54 drop off will be approximately 3:15; Homosassa Elementary bus number 2006-73 drop off will be approximately 4:15. Again at the intersection of Fish Bowl and Halls River Road. If you have questions, please call 795-0057.”
The Suncoast Standard did not receive any negative reports from parents affected by the bridge closure in regards to the Citrus County School District action plan adopted in response to the Halls River bridge closure.
The FHP report stated that the driver was not tested for drugs or alcohol use on scene and Citrus County has not publicly confirmed if it will seek to drug test the driver.
No press release was issued by Citrus County government by press time, and as of yet, there has been no official explanation of what caused the accident.
Submitted by Lou Newman, Publisher, on September 1, 2017 at 5:43 AM.
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