Crash shuts down I-20 bridge amid icy weather

NEW ORLEANS — A chain-reaction crash has shut down the icy Mississippi River bridge Wednesday on Interstate 20 at Vicksburg, Miss., with a tanker leaking a corrosive liquid into a river.

An 18-wheeler skidded on the ice and crashed into a railing at about 4 a.m. At least four other tractor-trailer rigs followed.

Louisiana State Trooper Albert Paxton said the tanker is leaking a flammable liquid and that hazardous materials crews are trying to stop the flow.

The four-lane bridge that runs between Vicksburg, Miss., and Delta, La. was closed in both directions and was expected to be for several hours.

Troopers say roads and bridges in the Monroe area were icy Wednesday morning and a number of on and off ramps to I-20 were closed.

In the Shreveport area, highway officials closed several roads including Interstate 49 from south Shreveport to I-20. I-49 from Shreveport to the Arkansas line remained closed.

Troopers across north Louisiana handled several accidents overnight with only minor injuries.

Freezing rain is causing extensive outages in Cleco’s service territory in central Louisiana.

Officials said trees and tree limbs incased in ice are falling, causing more than 27,500 outages statewide. The hardest hit areas are Rapides, Avoyelles and Grant parishes.

Anthony Bunting, vice president of transmission and distribution operations, said in a news release there were more than 18,500 outages in Rapides, 7,000 in Avoyelles and 1,200 in Grant parishes.

Bunting had no estimate when power would be restored.