A heavy-haul company is in a bit of trouble after its truck, which was pulling a 50,000-pound vessel on a drop deck trailer, was stuck on railroad tracks. Unfortunately, word of the obstacle did not reach the incoming Union Pacific train crew in time for them to stop their train before impact.
It’s terrifying to see a massive object get knocked away like a toy
Yet again we are witness to another instance of that old rivalry of the unstoppable force versus the immovable object. And as always, it leaves quite a big mess to clean up.
The incident occurred just before noon on October 9, in the small town of Fabens, Texas. Fabens is about 10 miles southeast of the TX-375 Loop of El Paso, and a couple of miles south of I-10.
The heavy haul contactor was trying to cross the Union Pacific railroad tracks when the bottom of the trailer was caught on the rails. Police were called and had arrived before the collision occurred.
Locals spoke in interviews that the tracks are difficult for low clearance trucks to cross. The incident took nearly 12 hours to clear up and Union Pacific investigators were dispatched to the scene.
Why does this keep happening?
Drivers and contractors hauling permitted loads (those over the legal length, width, and/or weight limits of a roadway), have a strict set of guidelines on how to prepare, transport, and ultimately deliver their cargo.
State permitting agencies, usually a section of the Department of Transportation or the Motor Carrier authority, sends an approved route for drivers to follow. The problem is road maintenance can make a once safe route impassable with just a few inches of asphalt.
Although the Infrastructure Act does seem to be helping rebuild some badly damaged bridges and roadways, oversized routing plans do not appear to be getting updated into databases in a timely manner. And those extensions and fixes to railroad crossings appear to be like magnets to lowboy and drop deck trailers.
Adding an extra ply of asphalt, which is usually about 2.5 to 3 inches thick, can vastly change the geometry of a railroad crossing. As drop deck trailers only have a few inches of clearance anyway, a fresh paving job can cause catastrophic consequences.
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