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UPDATE: Dump truck hits U.S. Highway 101 overpass

Caltrans called to assess 27-foot-wide crack left behind

UPDATE, 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 3: Caltrans spokesman Robert Haus said all lanes of U.S. Highway 101 should reopen by 7 p.m. Friday, but on the Embarcadero Road overpass, the righthand, westbound lane will remain closed indefinitely following the dump truck crash into the overpass on Thursday night.

The second from the left lane reopened at about 2:30 p.m. on Friday. Caltrans officials originally thought the HOV lane would remain closed indefinitely after discovering a steel girder was punctured and would need replacing. Further evaluation, however, revealed the damage was not extensive enough for a long-term closure of the freeway lane, Haus said.

Instead, crews will secure a tarp around the damaged section of the overpass to catch pieces of debris that could fall onto the freeway.

Crews will repair the damaged structure during nights to avoid traffic impacts, he said.

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A dump truck struck the overpass on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto on Thursday night, closing down two lanes.

The 2017 Peterbilt truck was going south on the freeway near Embarcadero Road around 10:50 p.m., when it struck the overpass. The bed it was hauling ripped open, leaving debris on lanes, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A Sig-alert was issued at 11:09 p.m. closing the two far left lanes. Drivers were still able to travel on Embarcadero Road and the overpass, police said.

Responding firefighters found a "significant crack in the overpass" and requested Caltrans to the scene to evaluate the damage, CHP officials said.

CHP Officer Art Montiel recommended drivers take Interstate Highway 280 while the lanes are closed. Southbound traffic was snarled all the way to Whipple Avenue in Redwood City, according to a CHP traffic-collision report. The congestion eased up at the University Avenue-Embarcadero stretch of Highway 101 around 10 a.m. Traffic east of the freeway in East Palo Alto at the University Avenue overpass and East Bayshore Road was also jammed.

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A 24-year-old Fremont man, Sukhpal Singh, was driving the two-axle truck, leaving a work site on University Avenue, and forgot to put down the bed of his truck. It was traveling down the freeway in the leftmost lane and hit the overpass, which caused the bed to partially detach, Montiel said.

Hydraulic fluid leaked from the truck on the HOV lane as a result of the crash, Montiel said.

The officer said the truck had its lid lifted as it went through the overpass, which is 15 feet and 5 inches tall.

Montiel said the driver was left with cuts to his face and taken to Stanford Hospital for treatment. No other cars were involved in the crash.

Singh will be cited, but it's not clear what for, according to Montiel. Drugs or alcohol didn't appear to play a role.

The CHP was waiting on a Caltrans engineer to arrive from Sacramento Friday afternoon to assess the 27-foot-wide crack the truck left on the overpass, according to Montiel.

Lanes were initially estimated to reopen around noon Friday, but Caltrans extended the closure to 3 p.m.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call CHP Officer Tim Yu at 650-369-6261.

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UPDATE: Dump truck hits U.S. Highway 101 overpass

Caltrans called to assess 27-foot-wide crack left behind

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Mar 3, 2017, 7:15 am
Updated: Fri, Mar 3, 2017, 4:29 pm

UPDATE, 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 3: Caltrans spokesman Robert Haus said all lanes of U.S. Highway 101 should reopen by 7 p.m. Friday, but on the Embarcadero Road overpass, the righthand, westbound lane will remain closed indefinitely following the dump truck crash into the overpass on Thursday night.

The second from the left lane reopened at about 2:30 p.m. on Friday. Caltrans officials originally thought the HOV lane would remain closed indefinitely after discovering a steel girder was punctured and would need replacing. Further evaluation, however, revealed the damage was not extensive enough for a long-term closure of the freeway lane, Haus said.

Instead, crews will secure a tarp around the damaged section of the overpass to catch pieces of debris that could fall onto the freeway.

Crews will repair the damaged structure during nights to avoid traffic impacts, he said.

========================

A dump truck struck the overpass on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto on Thursday night, closing down two lanes.

The 2017 Peterbilt truck was going south on the freeway near Embarcadero Road around 10:50 p.m., when it struck the overpass. The bed it was hauling ripped open, leaving debris on lanes, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A Sig-alert was issued at 11:09 p.m. closing the two far left lanes. Drivers were still able to travel on Embarcadero Road and the overpass, police said.

Responding firefighters found a "significant crack in the overpass" and requested Caltrans to the scene to evaluate the damage, CHP officials said.

CHP Officer Art Montiel recommended drivers take Interstate Highway 280 while the lanes are closed. Southbound traffic was snarled all the way to Whipple Avenue in Redwood City, according to a CHP traffic-collision report. The congestion eased up at the University Avenue-Embarcadero stretch of Highway 101 around 10 a.m. Traffic east of the freeway in East Palo Alto at the University Avenue overpass and East Bayshore Road was also jammed.

A 24-year-old Fremont man, Sukhpal Singh, was driving the two-axle truck, leaving a work site on University Avenue, and forgot to put down the bed of his truck. It was traveling down the freeway in the leftmost lane and hit the overpass, which caused the bed to partially detach, Montiel said.

Hydraulic fluid leaked from the truck on the HOV lane as a result of the crash, Montiel said.

The officer said the truck had its lid lifted as it went through the overpass, which is 15 feet and 5 inches tall.

Montiel said the driver was left with cuts to his face and taken to Stanford Hospital for treatment. No other cars were involved in the crash.

Singh will be cited, but it's not clear what for, according to Montiel. Drugs or alcohol didn't appear to play a role.

The CHP was waiting on a Caltrans engineer to arrive from Sacramento Friday afternoon to assess the 27-foot-wide crack the truck left on the overpass, according to Montiel.

Lanes were initially estimated to reopen around noon Friday, but Caltrans extended the closure to 3 p.m.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call CHP Officer Tim Yu at 650-369-6261.

Comments

Drop the Bed
Greenmeadow
on Mar 3, 2017 at 7:36 am
Drop the Bed, Greenmeadow
on Mar 3, 2017 at 7:36 am

Bad night for one truck driver.

...I think I dropped the bed...pretty sure I did...no worries...CRUNCH...maybe not.

Better put my resume back up on Linkdin...


details
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 3, 2017 at 7:49 am
details, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 3, 2017 at 7:49 am

Appears to be Embarcadero Rd overpass, from headline post on San Francisco Chronicle website.


Driver
Palo Verde
on Mar 3, 2017 at 8:09 am
Driver, Palo Verde
on Mar 3, 2017 at 8:09 am

Is the overpass closed? Is that interfering with local traffic? There are several overpasses on that stretch so which one is affected?


resident
Midtown
on Mar 3, 2017 at 8:51 am
resident, Midtown
on Mar 3, 2017 at 8:51 am

The Palo Alto Police press release says the Embarcadero Road overpass was hit. Embarcadero Road remains open. Highway 101 is a mess.


sardonic
Midtown
on Mar 3, 2017 at 8:53 am
sardonic, Midtown
on Mar 3, 2017 at 8:53 am

Does this truck driver work for Price Waterhouse?


Resident
Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2017 at 9:22 am
Resident, Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2017 at 9:22 am

"60 Feet Tall?" I think the officer meant 16 feet tall. Doubt that any dump truck extends that high.


Angry Bird
Menlo Park
on Mar 3, 2017 at 10:41 am
Angry Bird, Menlo Park
on Mar 3, 2017 at 10:41 am
musical
Palo Verde
on Mar 3, 2017 at 10:49 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Mar 3, 2017 at 10:49 am

"leaving a construction site on University Avenue" -- which site and what city council authorized the project? Development always brings the risk of accidents.


iritated
Mayfield
on Mar 3, 2017 at 10:59 am
iritated, Mayfield
on Mar 3, 2017 at 10:59 am
Plane Speaker
Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2017 at 12:19 pm
Plane Speaker, Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Waiting to welcome the self-driving truck.


David
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2017 at 12:53 pm
David, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Nearly every dumptruck that I have seen or driven has indicator lights to warn the driver when the dumpbed is raised. This is 100% driver error. It could have been much worse: Web Link or Web Link


Wassup?
Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 3, 2017 at 1:27 pm
Wassup?, Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 3, 2017 at 1:27 pm

This was reported on some radio stations as being a garbage truck, not a dump truck.

What is the truth?


David
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2017 at 1:32 pm
David, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2017 at 1:32 pm

It was a super 10-wheeler dump truck that was reportedly leaving a asphalt/paving job and forgot to lower the dump bed.


moi
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2017 at 3:50 pm
moi, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Well, I think the police could cite the truck driver for being totally spaced out. There must be a statute prohibiting that. If there's not, tell Joe Simitian.


Mama
Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2017 at 4:40 pm
Mama, Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2017 at 4:40 pm

It says apparently no drugs or alcohol involved. I hope it is automatic to test after an accident like this. Was driver tested?


Whuh
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2017 at 7:58 pm
Whuh, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Hello! This article repeatedly confuses lane numbers.

From the Cal. DMV driver handbook: Traffic lanes are often referred to by number. The left or “fast” lane is called the “Number 1 Lane.” The lane to the right of the “Number 1 Lane” is called the “Number 2 Lane,” then the “Number 3 Lane,” etc.

Here, the report is "[a two-axel truck] was traveling down the freeway in the rightmost (number 1) lane and hit the overpass..." Whuh? The LEFTMOST lane is lane number 1. See DMV, above.

Most recently, says an update, "...[th]e number 3 lane -- second from the left -- reopened at about 2:30 p.m. on Friday."
Whuh? The second lane from the left is the number 2 lane. See DMV, above.

So, what happened?

All of which begs another question: are the writers licensed drivers?


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2017 at 9:38 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2017 at 9:38 pm

It seems all lanes are now open, temporarily.

Do we know when the work will start?

Do we know how long it will take?

Do we know if the highway will have to be closed completely?

Do we know what asphalt work was being done that caused a dump truck to be returning to wherever at 11.00 pm?

Was this work anything to do with the San Francisquito Creek bridge that has been going on for a couple of years?

Will the Weekly or PAPD or whoever be updating us before the Monday morning commute, say by Sunday evening?


john_alderman
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2017 at 11:23 pm
john_alderman, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Mar 3, 2017 at 11:23 pm

@Whuh - I'm also a pedant, and getting the lane numbers backwards bugged me as well. But on the subject of pedantry, "beg the question" doesn't mean raise the question, it means assuming the conclusion in the premise.

Web Link


musical
Palo Verde
on Mar 4, 2017 at 12:44 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Mar 4, 2017 at 12:44 am

Drove over Embarcadero and took the right-270 to Oregon on my way back from the Baylands today. Impressive cracks just like the photos above show. Embarcadero's right lane westbound on the overpass was closed off by orange cones, but the offramp toward 101-south was accessible. David and Whuh's comments indicating two-axle dumptruck and 10-wheeler are inconsistent. Also wondering about trucks being legal in the left-most lane, but vehicle code indicates permissible for anything with two axles. Liability insurance? Probably big bucks for injury but just a token amount for property damage. Lesson for drivers: leave plenty of room when following behind an unreasonably tall truck. Something new to program into self-driving cars.


john_alderman
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Mar 4, 2017 at 1:41 am
john_alderman, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Mar 4, 2017 at 1:41 am

It was a 3 axle 10 wheel dump truck. NBC has a great set of photos that show the damage to the overpass:

Web Link

Here is a picture of the damaged truck if anyone feels like counting wheels and axles.

Web Link

As a 3 axle truck, it legally needed to be in the right two lanes. That may have been at least one of the things the driver was cited for, but wouldn't have prevented the accident.


musical
Palo Verde
on Mar 4, 2017 at 2:56 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Mar 4, 2017 at 2:56 am

^ thanks for the links, John. Impressive that the box just stuck there against the structure like that. Must have been quite a shock to the driver. Judging from skid marks he locked up his brakes to stop. Photo of truck looks like force broke the rear axle.

I particularly enjoyed the "We Tarp Our Loads For Your Safety" banner on the back of the truck-box.


Chip
Professorville
on Mar 4, 2017 at 6:18 am
Chip, Professorville
on Mar 4, 2017 at 6:18 am

Pretty sure the driver never looked in his rear-view mirror either.
Let's see: wrong lane, maybe. (3 axle truck in photo is the tow truck)
peculiarly late hour
failure to notice warning lights & alerts for raised box
inadequate use of mirrors
Do all smokable substances show up right away in tests?

Let's hope Singh's employer has lots of insurance & pays for repairs.
I'm glad no innocent motorist in another vehicle was injured.


Chip
Professorville
on Mar 4, 2017 at 6:23 am
Chip, Professorville
on Mar 4, 2017 at 6:23 am

Correction - saw damaged truck pics. Yes, 3 axles, lots of wheels. Don't drivers of such rigs need special licenses? Let's hope Mr Singh's is revoked.


Whuh
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2017 at 7:51 am
Whuh, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2017 at 7:51 am

@john_alderman

Not always: See, for example, this dictionary by Cambridge: Web Link

Here, context in my earlier comment points to the first meaning, above. The meaning you reference is the second, above.

Similarly, does "red herring" always mean a distracting false argument or clue? Or can it mean smoked fish? Of course "red herring" can mean both. Context points to one meaning or another.

That is all.


Curmudgeon
Downtown North
on Mar 4, 2017 at 6:04 pm
Curmudgeon, Downtown North
on Mar 4, 2017 at 6:04 pm

"Pretty sure the driver never looked in his rear-view mirror either."

Give this guy a break. He's got enough trouble already. He doesn't deserve uninformed criticism.

Have you checked if this truck has a center rear-view mirror? It wouldn't be much use unless the dump box front/rear walls are lower than the cab's rear window. The side mirrors were probably set to view only the road outboard of the box to show all the vehicles to the sides, like your car's mirrors ought to be.


Resident
Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2017 at 6:09 pm
Resident, Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2017 at 6:09 pm

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