A trucking company was slapped a $40,000 ticket after its vehicle was caught with a grossly overweight load on county roads between La Conner and Mount Vernon, Wash.
The truck was carrying a massive transformer from Galveston, Texas, to Anacortes where it was going to be loaded onto a ship bound for Alaska, State Patrol Trooper Mark Francis said. The truck got off Interstate 5 and took Fir Island Road to Best Road, crossing two bridges rated to safely carry less than half of the load's weight.
The county bridges are rated for just more than 105,000 pounds, but the truck and its load weighed 232,000 pounds, Francis said, adding that the driver had permits to travel state roads but not county roads, prompting the enormous ticket.
The trucking company used another company to set up the permits, but there apparently was miscommunication with the pilot cars that mapped out the route, Francis said. While a ticket is not as serious as a moving violation, it could affect the driver's Washington commercial endorsement.
The truck's crew was contacted Monday after it broke down at the roundabout at McLean Road and Best Road, blocking traffic for 12 hours. The bridges were apparently unharmed, but the roundabout suffered some damage, Francis said.
"There is a big reason why we have these restrictions. Potentially, lives are at risk," he said, recalling the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge on I-5 in May 2013.
One of the bridges the truck crossed spans the North Fork of the Skagit River to Fir Island. It has caused concern from officials in the past.
Following the I-5 bridge collapse, vehicles were detoured across the North Fork Bridge. County Commissioner Sharon Dillon said the bridge was structurally deficient and asked for load restrictions, noting that two trucks on it at the same time could cause collapse.
Copyright 2014 - Skagit Valley Herald, Mount Vernon, Wash.
Sensors in bridges, GPS technology, autonomous vehicles and more are employed to keep roads safe.