AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Five times in the span of about a week, trucks and equipment that were too tall for posted bridge heights, slammed into bridges and overpasses causing substantial damage according to the Maine Department of Transportation."We are never made whole, even if the responsible party is caught," said DOT bridge maintenance engineer, John Buxton.
"In reality it is a lose, lose, lose situation for everybody. It is a loss to the taxpayer. It is a loss in productivity that we should and could be doing something else. The insurer obviously loses, and the hauler. If it is a piece of equipment that hits the bridge, then that equipment is not going to be used and someone may be out of a job, so nobody wins from this situation."
Every bridge in the state of Maine that has a clearance under 14' 6" is clearly marked with signs before the structure and on it as well.
"The drivers of these vehicles are responsible for their height, the width of the vehicle, that the load that they are hauling is secured," explained Buxton. "I think it is happening because people become complacent."
The repair costs can add up quickly.
"The three most recent interstate bridges that were impacted, in aggregate, the three bridges, our estimate for repair is over $300,000," he stated.
The department is in the midst of a surveying project of all the bridges in the state, information that is available to drivers in a book form now, and something the department hopes to make available on line in the future.
For now, the DOT's message to drivers is simple.
"Just heed the signs," said Buxton. "Know the height of your vehicle. Know the height of your load. Make sure your load is secure and obey all traffic signs."