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Caltrans Permit Office Faces Audit

January 6, 2000

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The truck permitting office of the California Department of Transportation faces a legislative audit after coming under fire for a series of accidents caused by routing errors, one of which was fatal.

Sen. Betty Karnette, chairwoman of the state Senate Transportation Committee, asked for the audit. The committee approved the plan and authorized $47,000 for the project.
"I think this audit will allow an outside group to come in and really look at the (permitting) process," Karnette told the Los Angeles Times.
In the July crash, a man was crushed in his car on the Riverside Freeway in Anaheim after a truck hit a bridge and lost its cargo. Although the DOT initially said such a mistake was unusual, an internal review turned up at least two dozen similar errors in the last 3.5 years.
The problem received more attention in October when a temporary bridge collapsed after a legally permitted overweight truck traveled over it.
At a Senate hearing last fall, permit writers testified that the office had an outdated computer system and was under intense pressure to approve permits quickly.

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