Three Strikes on Bryan Overpass

It happened in 2004 and 2005. And now early in 2006, the Highway 6 overpass at Highway 30 was damaged.

A truck carrying a forklift scraped the bottom of the structure around 9:30am Monday, cutting down a couple lanes of Highway 30 while TXDOT examined the scene.

They've been here before, TXDOT checking out a damaged overpass at Highways 30 and 6. This time, it was minimal damage.

"I don't guess that he knew his height when he left the rental company, and just got under it and hit it," said TXDOT's Bob Colwell, speaking about the driver of the rig.

So TXDOT spent Monday morning on a cleanup that will cost a few thousand dollars, though not as pricey as two previous hits in late 2004 and early 2005, six months apart, each costing upwards of $50,000 to repair.

And while you might not consider 14.5 feet short, "this is the lowest underpass that we have in the Bryan area," Colwell said. "It's not the lowest one we have in the district."

At just shy of 17.5 feet, the Highway 21 overpass is one of the tallest along Highway 6, which is one of the two busiest roads in TXDOT's Bryan District. Usually, the overpasses are about 15 to 16 feet off the road.

So it is just a matter of inches in some cases whether a load gets under one overpass, but collides with the one at Highway 30. And it's those ever-changing heights for overpasses -- some as low as 11 feet on some district roads -- that could mean big damage in some cases.

The infrequency of the incidents don't warrant a major reworking of the overpass. Raising the 25-year-old structure mere inches could cost millions.

On a day like Monday, the call goes out again for drivers to check their heights.

"Sometimes we don't take the time to do it, so hopefully for everyone, this will be a lesson for us all to check our heights and to make sure, because we don't want to harm anyone out there on the roads."

When TXDOT checked the height of the overpass this morning, it actually measured at 14 feet, 11 inches, five inches above the posted sign. Officials say there is generally some wiggle room when it comes to what is listed on an overpass.


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