Backhoe clears first overpass, but not the second

UDOT Incident Management Team responds to a collision between a backhoe and the I-15 overpass on Main Street, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 20, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY — A backhoe sustained extensive damage when it struck an overpass in Washington City while being hauled on a flatbed truck Tuesday, sending work crews to clear the debris from the roadway.

Backhoe sustains damage after colliding with the I-15 overpass on Main Street, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 20, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Shortly after 8 a.m., officers and emergency crews were dispatched to the single-vehicle incident on Main Street near the Interstate 15 overpass, said Ed Kantor, public information officer for the Washington City Police Department.

Officers found the backhoe in the middle of Main Street surrounded by shattered glass and debris after it was knocked off of the flatbed truck, which was sitting nearby.

Utah Department of Transportation’s Incident Management Team also responded, along with Washington City work crews that arrived to move the backhoe and clear debris out of the roadway.

During the investigation, officers learned that the driver was heading south on Main Street from the area of West Buena Vista Boulevard, and was able to clear the I-15 southbound overpass without difficulty.

Concrete damage at the top of the I-15 overpass after it was struck by backhoe being towed on a flatbed truck, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 20, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

As the driver continued under the northbound overpass of I-15, the top section of the backhoe’s cab caught the bottom of the concrete overpass, which knocked it off of the flatbed and sent it crashing to the ground.

The height clearance for both the southbound and the northbound overpasses is listed as 12-feet 10-inches, but the driver was able to clear the southbound overpass because it is actually higher than the listed clearance height.

Signs are posted on both the north and southbound sides of Main Street to alert drivers to the clearance requirements before they continue under the overpasses, regardless of which direction they are traveling.

UDOT posts the lowest height on both signs instead of posting different clearance requirements at each overpass, which alleviates confusion, a UDOT spokesman said.

If the sign posted on the southbound overpass shows a higher clearance, drivers may assume it applies to both overpasses, he said, but in this case it doesn’t because Main Street continues north to south on a downward grade, which reduced the clearance rate as the truck continued from the southbound overpass to the northbound overpass only yards away.

Kantor said that drivers need to use extra care when hauling an oversized load, or driving a larger truck or motor home that requires a higher clearance, and not to assume they “are going to clear it” without knowing the height of their vehicle in relation to the overpass or bridge.

No injuries were reported and the driver was issued an oversize load violation.

This report is based on statements from police or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.


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  • Lastdays February 20, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Oh good, now that it’s damaged it can be replaced with a new Interchange. Perfect timing !

    • mesaman February 20, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      I was happy to see the wipers could be saved.

  • utahdiablo February 20, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Unsafe at any speed…tear it down

  • Striker4 February 21, 2018 at 2:21 am

    I sure hope no desert tortoises were endangered

  • mshaw February 21, 2018 at 3:15 am

    Maybe Mike Shaw will ask for a new overpass and a new Ford truck

  • Striker4 February 21, 2018 at 9:19 am

    the cost and time of repairs to the overpass has been estimated at $300.000.000 and 6 yrs to repair

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