The Big Rig Vs. Overpass

By JOHN M. DERBY
Times Founding Publisher
November 1, 2018

The recent accident involving a big rig and its too-tall payload smacking into the Applegate Overpass on Highway 99 is a dangerous road mishap that is not all that surprising.

Several months ago, another semi truck and trailer got wedged under an overpass in the Bay Area, and tied up traffic for hours.

The cost of such accidents is hard to calculate. The overpass may have to be replaced in Atwater, however, the cost in terms of business to merchants in the area is anyone's guess.

One might ask, "Do these kinds of accidents need to occur?" or could they be avoided by a fairly simple change at the weighing station?

Why can't a steel eye-beam be installed at the truck weigh-in stations with the maximum height a truck and semi can be; and then force all trucks to drive under it?

With such an eye-beam, the latest accident could have been prevented.

A truck driver friend also said he could have prevented the 3 to 4 hour back up on the Bay Area freeway by simply letting the air out of the tires, so the truck could be backed up, and then once the truck was free, inflate the tires so the truck can be driven to an area where it could be unloaded.

Truck transport in California and the valley is so important that stopping it for even a short time can be costly.

For even a small community like Atwater, the city is having to add up the economic loss in sales tax. It could throw the budget off, and increase the debt of the city

Pinning the problem on the truck drivers is not fair, as many times they simply pick up the trailer which has already been loaded by someone else. That is why it’s so important to have a method to double check the height of each truck load.

Highway Patrolmen would not be overly inconvenienced as trucking companies would probably install their own eye-beams at the exit of their loading docks.

The freeways would have one less problem to deal with, and the poor motorists on US 99 would be given a break.

Let's see if we can get Caltrans on board for an easy solution to an ongoing problem.


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