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Mayfly mush downs bikes, closes bridge

2015-06-15 11:29

AFTERMATH: Piles of dead mayflies lie heaped on the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Pennsylvania after a swarm caused three crashes and prompted the bridge to be closed. Image: YouTube

LANCASTER, Pennsylvania — Swarming mayflies were so dense they caused the closing of a Pennsylvania bridge and three crashes.

The LNP newspaper in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, reported that mayflies hatching from the river below swarmed around the bridge lights then fell to the ground, forming piles several centimetres deep on the road.

VIDEO: Swarm of Mayflies prompts bridge closure

Police in West Hempfield Township in Lancaster County said the bridge, between Columbia and Wrightsville, was shut at about 10.30pm on Saturday (June 13 2015). Fire Chief Chad Livelsberger said three motorcycles crashed - none seriously - because the flies plastered riders' visors.


The Veterans Memorial Bridge re-opened the following day.

Livelsberger told the LNP: “It was like a blizzard in June but instead of snow it was mayflies. It was very slick, almost like ice. My pick-up skidded to a stop. When you tried to pull off again all your tyres would do was spin.”

The black mayflies were close to 5cm  long and a six wide: “It looks like a mealworm with wings.”

Columbia Borough Fire Chief Scott Ryno said: “Visibility was zero for maybe 400m across the bridge. They were getting in our mouths... we had to close our eyes, we had to swat them away. Even later it felt like bugs were crawling on you.”

Livelsberger blamed new Art Deco lighting on the Route 462 bridge for the mayfly mayhem. They were installed in 2014 as part a renovation that cost the equivalent of R26-million.

Read the original story here.

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