Permit Errors Result In Overpass Crashes

July 26, 1999

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California Department of Transportation permit writers have recently routed three oversized loads through overpasses that were too low, resulting in crashes and one fatality.

On June 8, a truck hauling construction equipment along California 44 hit the Interstate 5 overpass near Redding. There were no injuries and only minor damage to the bridge. Ten days later, a truck hauling logging equipment hit the same overpass. In both instances, a Caltrans permit writer was responsible for giving drivers incorrect routes.
Last week, a motorist was killed when an empty fiberglass fuel tank was knocked off by a too-low overpass near Anaheim, CA. While the permit noted both the load's 15-foot height and a route from Anaheim to Nevada, it did not mention that the La Palma Avenue overpass is 14 feet, 10 inches high.
Trucks that are more than 14 feet high must get Caltrans approval of a permit that includes the dimensions of the truck and the route the driver plans to take. The three crashes in such a short time are even more surprising following three years of crash-free oversize permits, reports the Associated Press. One permit writer has been disciplined.

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