At one of the busiest travel times of the year, North Shore motorists who were headed north Thursday and Friday morning for the Labor Day weekend faced a major slowdown and a 27-mile detour on popular Hwy. 61 after a truck hit an inactive railroad bridge Thursday.

But crews quickly demolished the heavily damaged bridge near Taconite Harbor, which is 90 minutes north of Duluth and south of Lutsen, and Hwy. 61 reopened to traffic at noon on Friday — just in time for the peak holiday weekend traffic rush.

Officials at the Minnesota Department of Transportation said that the old railroad bridge, once used for taconite rail shipments, has been hit before by trucks and that the latest crash made it unsafe to drive beneath the bridge.

No one was injured in the crash, and construction crews mobilized quickly to demolish the structure and remove debris.

Kelly Smith