Re: Overpass accidents in Ohio rising for unknown reasons



On Sat, 21 Jun 2008 08:49:40 -0700 (PDT), gpsman
<gpsman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Cincinnati.Com
The Enquirer
Last Updated: 5:42 am | Saturday, June 21, 2008
Overpass accidents in Ohio rising for unknown reasons
BY KANTELE FRANKO | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

More commercial trucks traveling on Ohio highways are hitting
overpasses, backing up motorists for miles and costing the state three
times the usual amount for emergency repairs.

A crash Monday on Interstate 75 near Dayton marked the 15th time a
vehicle hit and damaged an overpass since June 2007, according to the
Ohio Department of Transportation.

The agency has spent $1.9 million in the past year on emergency
repairs - up from a recent average of about $600,000 a year, said
spokesman Scott Varner.

The increase in overpass accidents means officials have used most of a
surplus carried over from past repair budgets, Varner said.

When possible, the state tries to recover its costs through insurance
providers or truck operating companies.

It's unclear why bridge accidents are on the rise. Increased truck
traffic and a desire to economize fuel by carrying larger loads might
play a role in some cases, government and industry representatives
suggest. Many involve semitrailers, but the types of accidents have
varied.

"I think that's the difficulty for us," Varner said. "Is it a growing
problem, or was it just the past 12 months? We may not know for
another six months."

Trucks and their cargo can be no higher than 13.5 feet without a
special permit in Ohio, where overpasses generally have a clearance of
about 16 feet.

Doug Hecox, a spokesman for the Federal Highway Administration, said
he has not heard of concerns about increased damages to bridges in
other states. He added that states are responsible for licensing
drivers and posting clearance warnings.

In at least nine of the 15 Ohio cases, a truck's trailer or its load
struck the underside of an overpass. In two of those, which were both
fatal crashes in northeast Ohio, the hoists on trash haulers were not
fully lowered.

Three were collisions between truck loads and the underside of the
Stop Eight Road overpass on Interstate 75 near Dayton.

Other crashes resulted in damage to bridge supports. In May, a
railroad locomotive broke away from a tractor-trailer and slammed into
three columns supporting an Interstate 74 overpass near Cincinnati.
Crews are still repairing the damage.

Some causes, such as equipment malfunctions, can't be prevented by
drivers. But officials aim to eliminate human error as a factor
through millions of dollars in trucker safety education annually, said
Larry Davis, president of the Ohio Trucking Association.

Even then, mistakes happen. When a lifting device is left up, for
example, "Somebody's not doing what they're supposed to be doing," he
said. "And what do you do about that?"

In at least a half-dozen of the accidents, drivers received citations
and could face fines.

The groups agree: Truck operators must be aware of their load heights
and weights and show extra caution with equipment that could
accidentally be left up or rise in transit.
Copyright 2008, Enquirer.com
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080621/NEWS01/806210358/1077/COL02
-----

- gpsman


One main problem is, Ohio just does not mark the height.
One trucker, years ago, on I-90 tried going under one bridge,
unmarked, and found out the hard way.

In texas, and a couple of other states, low overpasses are also
equipped with a height detector and flashes if you're too high.
Directing you to bypass the overpass.

A federal law known as the MUTCD, requires all overpasses to be marked
within 12" of their actual clearance. Ohio has yet to meet this law.
And yet, nothing has been done about it.

.



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