It seems like every single day we have a new bridge strike on the news. It’s everything from construction equipment to car haulers to oversized vessels that are bashing bridges and overpasses.
I-75 NB closed temporarily in Ocala, FL for an overpass strike
Facebook: Eric Williams/Applied Pressure, Inc.
On Feb. 22 at around 9 a.m. EST in Ocala, Florida, a truck pulling an oversized load struck the Williams Road overpass at mile marker 347 on I-75 northbound. Photos of the scene show chunks of concrete littering the ground and on top of the vessel being hauled.
Traffic was rerouted as Florida Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation crews worked to assess the damage to the bridge and complete their incident investigations. A video posted on Facebook shows FHP officers preparing to take measurements of the cargo to compare with information on the oversized permits and bills of lading.
I-75 Northbound was reopened to traffic at around 10:30 a.m.
Work van ripped apart in overpass strike
On Feb. 21 at approximately 7:18 p.m. CST, a truck pulling a flatbed with a Dodge 3500 work van loading onto it collided with the Washington Avenue overpass. The impact was so great that it completely ripped the van apart, leaving a portion of the van hanging from the beams overhead.
The Katy Freeway was partially closed until 8:22 p.m. as TXDOT assessed the damage to the overpass structure. There have been no injuries reported so far in the incident.
So why does this keep happening?
There are some questions on why these incidents keep occurring on an everyday basis. Let’s talk about what could be causing this to happen.
Drivers and the escorts driving ahead and behind the load should know the heights of all overpasses along the route. They can use information from road atlases, the permits they receive, and from calling the DOT engineering offices.
Lead escorts should be using poles set to the height of the load to prevent collisions. The truck carrying the load should be at a proper distance to safely stop the truck if the pole does contact an overhead beam.
All involved should measure for themselves the height of the cargo after it is on the trailer. Do not take the bill of lading or anyone’s word as absolute truth.
A tape measure or measuring stick should be used to check the height of the load to ensure you are able to haul it safely. The phrase “oh, I’ve hauled this myself plenty of times, you’re good to go” has gotten many a truck driver in serious trouble.
Professional drivers, carriers, and escort companies should work to ensure that the freight they are transporting can be hauled safely every day, without incident.
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