New system to prevent bridge-truck collisions on its way

New system to prevent bridge-truck collisions on its way
(Phoenix O'Connor)

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - With over 20 bridges in the Midland-Odessa area struck by semi-trucks in the last year, the state and other infrastructure non-profits, such as the Midland Odessa Transportation Alliance, are looking into how this can be prevented.

Repairs aren’t made quickly, in fact, the Stanton Bridge, demolished earlier this week and closed this month due to over-sized load. Construction of the overpass for Loop 250, over Interstate Highway 20 in West Midland, has been on hold since November of 2018.

“We’ve ordered the beams, as soon as the beam manufacturer tells us they will be fabricated, then we can set a repair schedule so they can get out there and start the work,” Gene Powell, TXDOT said.

After the beams are delivered the construction would still take another six to eight weeks to complete.

Several methods of prevention have been brought forward such as going after the driver's bond, something MOTRAN says is rarely done due to the lengthy process involved.

MOTRAN also says the next step would be criminal charges.

“We have heard, or been told by most of the legal folks we’ve dealt with is that you would have to move it from not just a civil offense but also a criminal offense,” James Beauchamp, President of MOTRAN, said.

TxDOT says Over Height Dedication Systems with warning lights on low bridges is on headed to highways this Spring.

“If the load is too tall for the upcoming bridge a flashing light will go off and tell you to take the next exit, so you do not impact the bridge,” Powell said.

The project is estimated at about $3 million, for which TxDOT has opened bids and put under contract.

Copyright 2019 KWES. All rights reserved.