The May 2013 truck-bridge collision that caused a portion of Interstate 5 to fall into the Skagit River in Washington was in part due to a load too tall for the truck carrying it, according to a report released this week by the Washington State Patrol.
WSP says the truck was permitted to carry loads no taller than 15 feet 9 inches, but the load that struck the bridge was 15 feet 11 inches.
The bridge collapse occurred when a 2010 Kenworth towing a 1997 Aspen flatbed with casing shed struck the bridge in the southbound far right lane. The bridge collapsed after the truck crossed. No one was injured in the collapse.
Truck driver William D.W. Scott of Alberta, Canada, was cited by WSP for Negligent Driving in the Second Degree — an infraction that carries a $550 fine.
The driver of the load is legally responsible for an over-height load, WSP says in its report, not the driver of a pilot car or support vehicle. WSP makes mention of the pilot car driver because the National Transportation Safety Board concluded in a July 2014-released report that the pilot car’s clearance pole hit the bridge, signaling the load was too tall to clear.
The driver, however, was on his phone and distracted. NTSB also blamed bad route planning by the carrier, an inadequate permitting process and a lack of low-clearance warning signs.
This article was written by James Jaillet, associate editor for Overdrive Online and CCJ Digital.