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Sometimes we split to meet again later..

Traffic investigators believe the rig coming from Harrisburg and hauling a 75,000-pound I-beam to a Milwaukie light-rail construction site overturned as it approached an afternoon traffic jam on northbound Interstate 5.

It appears the driver attempted to brake on a sloping section of the bridge that has a slight angle, said Sgt. Pete Simpson, a Portland police spokesman.

“The stopping, the camber of the road: It was a perfect storm,” Simpson said. “You probably couldn’t duplicate it in a million years.”

The traffic-snarling wreck happened about 3 p.m. The monstrous 168-foot-long concrete-and-rebar girder destined for a Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail project site in Milwaukie crushed a Volkswagen Tiguan driven 23-year-old Dana Kay Buice.

The truck and beam traveled nearly a hundred miles if I got the correct Harrisberg. And I understand that people should have free will to work at what they love. But does anyone think that this driver at 67 years old had other equitable options than the arduous task of hauling this beam? To get so close and have this happen.

But do not think I am laying this on the driver they are but a mere cog in a corporate wheel. And as far as I know perfectly adept at the job.

Oversight is more of what I'm concerned with.

Why were there any vehicles sharing that section of bridge with a vehicle that long?

Where were the spotter cars that should be fore and aft of such an unwieldy vehicle?

Why wasn't the camber of the road addressed before the beam was hauled? We can only defy physics so far.

Also if the chase cars were there were they flagged? Literally? Because I was out walking as this occurred and the winds as they are apt to do here were not gentle in any sense. Looking at that beam I can see tremendous amount of sail not only on the vertical side but the upper part of the I protruding will also become a sail.

I'm at a loss at how the department of transportation decides these things but in my eyes this situation may not have been avoidable but there were steps that could have been taken to ensure that the safety was not compromised in the name of profit.

The project itself that this beam was going to is fantastic in my eyes.

Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge

Will carry no private vehicles but transit and pedestrians as well as bicyclists.

The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge will serve light rail trains, pedestrians, cyclists, and in the future, Portland Streetcar. Bus lines 9, 17 and 19, which currently travel on the Ross Island Bridge, may also change routes to use the new bridge (Decisions about bus line planning in regards to the entire project will occur through a service planning public process). The bridge will not serve private vehicles, but will be able to accommodate emergency vehicles.

Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge

The mock ups in the links are beautiful and it is fun watching them build it.

Bridge facts

    Four-pier cable-stayed bridge type (two piers on land, two in the water at the towers)
    Approximately 1720 feet in length
    Two towers, each 180 feet high
    Typical width is 75.5 feet; at the towers, the width is 110.5 feet
    Five spans
    Approximately 3.5 miles of cable
    Two 14-feet-wide bicycle and pedestrian paths

South Corridor Project

The South Corridor Project—led by Metro in partnership with TriMet, the City of Portland, the City of Milwaukie and Clackamas County—has worked to identify transportation options for the fast-growing I-205 and Milwaukie/Oregon City corridors. When the study began in 1999, light rail was not an option under consideration. But neighborhoods along the alignment—from Southeast Portland to Milwaukie—requested that light rail be part of the study, and it was ultimately adopted as the preferred option..

Subsequently, the South Corridor Project has followed a two-phased approach. In September 2009, Phase 1 brought MAX Green Line service to the I-205 corridor between Clackamas Town Center and Gateway, where it then uses the existing MAX Blue and Red line tracks to travel to downtown Portland. Once the Green Line crosses the Steel Bridge, it follows new tracks along the Portland Mall to Portland State University. Portland-Milwaukie light rail constitutes Phase 2 of the South Corridor Project.

Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail BridgeCams

Two cameras provide live footage of the construction of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge. On the west side of the Willamette River, a camera is positioned on the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Center for Health and Healing in South Waterfront. On the east side, a camera is on the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

OHSU Bridgecam

OMSI Bridgecam

Originally posted to PDX Metro on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 03:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by Koscadia.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I blame bad Google Maps (11+ / 0-)

    I mean, you're going from Harrisburg to Milwaukee, so why go through Portland?

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 03:15:12 PM PDT

    •  That's what happens when 67 year olds truck (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Marti, LOrion


      •  Give me a break (6+ / 0-)

        Do you have any idea how diffacult these things are to move?

        They require two drivers one in the truck and one with the back tires working together. The 67 year old is probably working there because he has the skill.
        It is NOT something very many people can do. It requires a special license that very few people have. They do not hire just any Joe truck driver off the street

        Could this have been solved with oversight? No, it happens all the time we just don't hear about it. Last summer it was a girder foran overpass in Puyallup,it tipped off the road.

        It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

        by PSWaterspirit on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 05:00:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Good question, why not take the spur off I-5 (3+ / 0-)

      to the Oregon City exits to Milwaukee?

      Because on Google maps, that driver shouldn't have been anywhere near that SE downtown Portland overpass at all...

      Check it out:

      Start at Harrisburg, OR
      End at Milwaukie, OR

      Shouldn't have ever entered the SE Portland freeway/overpass spans at all.

      This makes no sense.

      "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

      by Angie in WA State on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 03:30:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I probably would have gone up to Lake Oswego (6+ / 0-)

      and then head south at Kruse Way, depending on traffic conditions.  That's how I usually go.

      I5 is more direct and 205 can get bunchy with the Portland suburbs traffic.  Now, why he would go all the way up to Portland through all the bridges seems bizarre to me.


      A worker [Mark Cole] who steered the rear wheels of the truck jumped out of his cab and pulled 23-year-old Dana Buice from the crushed car, which had caught fire.

      I get out of the machine. I run up and I look over the beam. There's a young woman in there, she's screaming," said Mark Cole. "She's kind of pinned underneath the steering wheel and just underneath the car."

      Cole managed to get her out and said Buice only suffered a cut on her hand.


      Cole said he saw the beam tilting as the truck drove slowly across the bridge. He tried to radio the driver in the front but said everything happened too fast for anyone to stop it.


      A TriMet spokeswoman said six girders were set to be delivered Tuesday and six more Wednesday. The one that tipped over was the fifth of the day. The route had been approved by transportation officials.

      So I'll wait to see what ODOT has to say. If they did approve (or even suggest) the route, then I'm sure that they'll explain that.

      It seems that the beam may not have been tied down correctly as well, if it were "tilting" as well.

      While I'm curious to see if this same driver were shuttling all six beams that day (which might indicate that he were very tired)  I certainly am not going to blame a senior citizen driver until we have the facts.

      They may have given this assignment to him because he was the most experienced driver and they felt he was the most capable to handle it (note, he had someone steering the rear wheels as well).

      We simply don't know enough at this point.

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 04:23:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If there was oversight (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cartoon Peril

        They would have made them wait out the winds. And keep easily crushed vehicles away. And had flag cars that drove ahead far enough the load can stop. And not brought the load onto a city center in middle of a workday.

        •  Read the article... (0+ / 0-)

          The article you linked to describes the restrictions. They are implemented through the permitting process.

          The route was likely chosen carefully -- time of day is specifically mentioned for permitting -- and likely for absence of sharp turns and low overpasses.

          There's a small but significant industry that deals with moving very large things from place A to place B.

          In this case it looks like not enough care was taken in the truck and/or its weighting. From the picture, it looks significantly overbalanced/top-heavy. Gradings on interstate highways are quite gentle.

          •  Interesting. (0+ / 0-)

            You obviously have not deduced from my POINTED  questions that I am familiar with the transportation industry.

            Please continue the pointless lecture.

            Repeating the fact it got a permit reinforces my points on oversight BTW-asleep at the wheel or bought off does not matter. There are safer ways to do things but they cost more.

        •  The middle of the workday is usually the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Safest time to transport large loads.

          Early morning has fog, icy bridge decks, etc.  You try to work outside outside rush hour, if at all possible.  Night has poor visibility.

          Roads don't just belong to passenger cars and buses. I know many people think that, as they whip in and out of semis, RVS,  manufactured homes, heavy equipment, boats, and even aircraft driving or being transported down the interstate.

          Public roadways exist to move humans, support commerce AND support infrastructure.

          Departments of Transportation do a good job, overall, trying to keep opposing forces from bothering each other too much.

          When I'm driving behind semis that are driving 30mph on an interstate or waiting for the drawbridge on I5, it's frustrating. But the common good is something we progressives are supposed to believe in.

          When I see trucks hauling big stuff, I stay way far out of the way. I've driven around too many logging trucks, which scare the bejeebies out of me.  

          I realize they need a lot of space. I don't think they don't deserve to be on the road with me.

          And I thank God that Mr Cole reacted so quickly and the other driver was barely injured.

          Just my perspective.

          © grover

          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 08:04:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  REALLY, just visited Portland in December (0+ / 0-)

      We were on 21 of the 16 or 9 bridges I think..! Really had a great trip..but egads. Can't believe there aren't LARGE LOAD driving time restrictions as there are in Real Big Cities.

      Proud to be part of the 21st Century Democratic Majority Party of the 3M's.. Multiracial,Multigender and MiddleClass

      by LOrion on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:07:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, thank God for this at least: (15+ / 0-)
    Buice, who suffered an arm injury, was reportedly pulled from her burning car by one of the rig’s drivers.

    “Reports from witnesses were that he braved heat and smoke while trying to free her from the vehicle,” said Portland Fire Lt.  Rich Chatman. “Eventually he was able to remove her seat belt" and free her her arm, which was pinned in the wreckage.

    ...from your link. (This is the woman whose car got squashed.)
  •  I drove by one of those on the freeway 2 days ago (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III, Creosote

    it was the biggest thing I'd ever seen on the road.  This was at about 4:00 pm.  They should have been moving this thing at 2:00 a.m. or something like that.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 06:19:01 PM PDT

  •  Nevertheless, thanks for the links (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    to the bridge-building, and the beautiful simple night scenes.

    It's not often one can see how vastly changeable the clouds and skies are.

  •  I'm still lost, I've lived near Portland (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    for just over a month now.  Having to travel over all those rusting bridges makes me nervous enough.   And, in some inspired dose of hell, I had to drive over a steel grated bridge deck the other day, they always make me feel like the gratings are trying to steer my truck over the edge.  8^(

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 12:46:17 PM PDT

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