Overpasses continue to be hit by truck drivers

WEST TEXAS - Earlier in February CBS 7 reported yet another bridge was struck and damaged by a truck driver that was carrying a load that was too tall.

We dug deeper into why this keeps happening, and how it could be costing you money.

As truck drivers slam into bridges they cause traffic delays and dangerous road conditions.

While drivers haven't adjusted to the rules of the road, TxDOT is now starting to make the adjustments for them.

Highways and roads are congested with drivers from a boom in oil field activity.

With that increase in traffic, comes an increase in accidents, specifically bridge strikes.

“It’s pretty mind numbing that they happen at all, and when you consider the frequency of the hits….we’re averaging two a month and recently it’s been more than that,” said Gene Powell, the public information officer for TxDOT.

Powell’s been working with TxDOT for about eight years, and in that time, “we’re right at 100 bridges, some of them have multiple hits, Cotton Flatt [overpass] for instance has been hit three times in the last few months,” said Powell.

While tax payers may be forced to foot the bill after a bridge strike if the offender isn’t known, it’s costing people more than just money.

“If we’ve got a road that’s closed because of a bridge strike, you have to change your route to work…people in Stanton right now can’t use the bridge on the West side,” said Powell.

To combat this problem, all bridges are marked overhead and with advanced warning signs.

Over the next few decades TxDOT plans to build bridges at 18’6” high and they're looking to add over-height detection systems.

This issue still comes down to one simple fix.

“I mean these are supposed to be professional truck drivers, these are supposed to be people who know what they’re doing,” said Powell.

In order to make adjustments to bridge heights Powell estimates it'll take millions of dollars and decades to complete.