If you park too long in one spot, or if your dog barks too much, you are subject to a fine under City bylaws. But if you drive your tractor-trailer unit into the Fortune Drive overpass, it’s okay.
Well, not totally okay, because a minor scrape like the one that occurred this week will cost somebody around $75,000, not to mention the impact on the employment of the truck driver.
It will be up to the insurance companies to figure out which one is going to be on the hook for the repair bill but, either way, it will come out of somebody’s pocket.
Nevertheless, there has been no mention of any legal repercussions for wedging a too-tall truck under a too-short overpass. It’s all being treated as something of an “oops.”
This isn’t the first time it’s happened. On at least one previous occasion, the damage to the underside of the overpass was more serious and the structure was closed for several weeks. And there have been a number of other scrapes over the years, as well.
While the driver this week suggested that uneven asphalt might have caused the rig to jiggle, thereby raising the topside of the vehicle into the underside of the crossover, it remains a fairly simple matter of arithmetic.
When you drive a truck under something, shouldn’t you know the difference between the height of your truck and the clearance of the structure? If the former is taller than the latter, the best thing is to find another way of getting from A to B.
When the equation is disregarded or erroneously computed, a lot of public inconvenience is caused. That particular location represents something of traffic bottleneck, especially at morning and late afternoon rush hours. True, it was poorly designed when the bridge was constructed — a later remake created an additional lane going under the overpass in an attempt to relieve the tie-ups.
However, as commuter traffic increases, so does pressure on that bottleneck. So when something happens that forces closure of the overpass, drivers have an additional headache to deal with as they work around it.
Bylaws and traffic laws are based largely on two things — public convenience and public safety. Given the number of times the overpass has been damaged, maybe an additional deterrent is needed in the way of enforcement.
If the situation isn’t covered under existing damage-to-public-property or driving-without-due-care-and-attention rules, maybe a new one needs to be added — no bashing into the overpass.
Some more imposing signage would help, as well. We draw your attention to the photo at above, brought to our attention by a helpful reader.
A sign like that, along with a reminder to truckers that they face a hefty fine if they touch that bypass, might be of some help.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.