The Tranquille overpass is shut down for the weekend after a transport truck hauling an excavator clipped it around noon Friday, causing structural damage.
A Robo Transport driver said he thought he would make it underneath the overpass at the north end of the Overlanders Bridge with room to spare.
“The height looked good to me, but then the truck just started bouncing real good from the ridges in the road,” said the driver, who would not give his name.
“I didn’t think I hit it too hard, it just felt like a little scrape.”
The force of the blow left a two-meter fissure, exposing bent structural rebar, according to Watson Engineering, which was hired by the City to assess the damage.
“It took a real good whack,” said Jim McNeely, City streets and internal services manager.
The Tranquille overpass was closed around noon and will stay that way for the weekend, he added.
After a preliminary inspection, Watson Engineering concluded that the overpass should stay closed until structural damage is repaired.
“We don’t want any traffic crossing the bridge because the vibration could cause more debris to fall loose,” added McNeely. “We don’t want to take any chances.”
City crews will have to do a more extensive removal of the loose concrete before a final assessment can be made.
“If we chip away much more of this bridge, there won’t be much left standing,” said Devis Luison, a Kamloops carpentry division worker.
The City has put up a catch-net for any small debris that might fall loose.
The overpass has been clipped more than half a dozen times and this is the second time it has been hit this month, according to Luison.
“All the bridges in the city are regulation height (13 feet, six inches), so drivers carrying a tall load should be aware,” said McNeely.
The driver has since been “released from the company,” according to a person who identified himself on the phone as the office manager for Robo Transport.
“This incident comes down to driver error, he didn’t follow proper procedures,” said the man, who declined to give his name. “The accident could have been a lot worse, but the good thing is nobody got hurt.”
Increased traffic on alternative routes led to reports of multiple traffic accidents Friday afternoon.
Kamloops RCMP said in a press release that speed and alcohol were not factors in the incident.