Massive truck damage is again the subject of current news stories – In this most recent incident the level of damage is beyond any level of understandability, so far beyond, that it is without exaggeration almost impossible to understand how the truck and the fool piloting it, made it to the other side.
Impact damage has long been an issue with Covered & wooden spans, with but the 20th Century exceptions of Oregon and New Brunswick and British Columbia, most such bridges were built before heavy trucks existed and clearances were standardized.
We have spoken to truck impact damage here on The Bridgewright Blog in prior entries, and of how the frequency of these impacts and the level of damage both seem to be on the rise in recent years. GPS systems are often assigned blame by the offending drivers, this most recent case included. I can’t help but wonder however if some of this is not perhaps due to the continuing disappearance of through trusses of any kind from the National landscape. Modest span through trusses of any type are virtually no more. In their stead we are left with concrete deck bridges. None of the wonder of trusswork to perhaps spark the imagination of future builders and engineers. Just the continuation of an unending ribbon of pavement, unending road – Road seemingly levitated over water, supported by what, few who find themselves crossing even glimpse into the rear-view for a second glance at but a blip in passing to wonder…
Thought need not be spent, road is road.
Clearance and load limit signs are found less and less frequently on that road.
All that and I still can’t understand this level of unthinking – I drive a diesel fired behemoth, large enough that it is a pain to park in most parking lots, high enough that clearance signs in parking garages and drive thru’s need be heeded, heavy enough that I am pushing it with three ton load limit signs.
So somebody pointing a Semi through the Portal of something so atypical as a covered wooden bridge, passing load limit and clearance signs in the doing, is impossible for me to understand.
I’m wondering with this entry, what needs be done to avoid more of this phenomenon of impact as the future unfolds?