Caltrans: Crack in overpass damaged by dump truck wider than expected

Crack was initially 25 feet, but crews later found it was about 45 feet wide

A dump truck that crashed into the Embarcadero Road overpass at U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto earlier this month resulted in a 45-foot-wide crack, Caltrans has found after further investigation, according to a spokesman.

The crash happened just before 11 p.m. on March 2, when the driver of a 2017 Peterbilt truck heading south with its bed still lifted struck the overpass, according to the California Highway Patrol. Two lanes were closed for several hours, and the incident snarled the following morning's commute.

The repair work is estimated to begin either in early to mid-April and last for about three to four weeks, Caltrans spokesman Bernard Walik said in an email. The job is estimated to cost between $500,000 and $1 million, he said.

Initially, Caltrans crews estimated the truck left a 25-foot-wide crack, but they later determined it was actually around 45 feet, Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus said.

The agency is still finalizing the design work and estimating costs for the repairs before it opens the project for bids and awards the work to a contractor, Haus said.

The westbound lane of the overpass remains closed indefinitely, he said.

While the agency has seen its fair share of cars hit an overpass, usually on the sides, the March 2 incident resulted in more serious damage, according to Haus.

The CHP has identified the driver as 24-year-old Skuhpal Singh, who was cited for driving an unsafe vehicle or a vehicle with a defect, CHP Officer Michael Aquino said.

Singh had dropped a load off at a job site near University Avenue and drove away without the truck bed fully latching, Aquino said.

The driver continued on to the freeway at speeds of up to 30 mph before the crash, which left him with a broken nose and bruises to his face, according to Aquino.


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5 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 17, 2017 at 7:31 pm

I hope that the company had insurance.

5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2017 at 8:16 pm

I personally would hate to be on that overpass in even a mild earthquake, and the same can be said for under the overpass.

We have not been informed if the structure is safe for the amount of traffic it carries which is quite possibly endangering the lives of those that cross as well as those that drive under.

Perhaps the prudent thing to do would be to close the overpass! But then of course the traffic will be even worse.

Infrastructure should be a priority in this State.

Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 17, 2017 at 10:21 pm

" Singh had dropped a load off at a job site near University Avenue and drove away without the truck bed fully latching, Aquino said."

The slipstream raised the bed?

Bad bed latch? This could be an interesting warranty claim on Peterbilt.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 18, 2017 at 2:09 am

Speeds of up to 30 mph? Is the article's final sentence a typo or did I miss something?

7 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2017 at 8:20 am

Curmudgeon, these large dump trucks do not have a bed latch that locks the dump bed into the lowered position. There sheer weight and gravity does that. There is a driver/operator controlled switch that engages the power-take-off (PTO) and a hydraulic pump to send hydro fluid to the multi stage ram/cylinder. Driver/operator controlled levers or solenoid switches raise/lower the bed, and driver/operator controlled pneumatic switches open/close the tailgate and/or chutes to dispense the product while the dump bed is raised. 99.995% of all dump trucks have an indicator light to warn/alert the driver/operator of a raised bed condition. This driver either had a faulty indicator or ignored the illuminated warning light on the dash. This was 100% driver/operator error.

Peterbilt only builds the chassis. Other companies add the dump bed and associated mechanical equipment and controls to the truck chassis for a finished product that most of us see daily on the road.

1 person likes this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 19, 2017 at 1:22 am

Kudos to DAVID for setting the record straight for Curmudgeon with an excellent descr of how these larger trucks work. At least it will provide Curmudgeon with information he clearly needed since his previous remarks indicated he knows little or nothing about operating large trucks.

2 people like this
Posted by Sigh
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 19, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Just fix it, already! Everyday that crack goes unprepared, it widens a tiny bit!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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