Truck strikes on Alaskan Way overpass raise concerns

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by NATALIE SWABY / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @NSwabyKing5

KING5.com

Posted on June 27, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 27 at 1:06 PM

SEATTLE - A Highway 99 overpass is being damaged by frequent truck strikes, according to people who work near Elliott Avenue and Blanchard Street in downtown Seattle.
 
From Michelle Stewart's office window, she has seen the damage done when trucks collide with the overpass that connects to the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
 
"It happens about once a month, but in the past week and a half it has happened three times," said Stewart, who provided several pictures of the damage.
 
"It is unmistakable. You'll hear a big boom, and we are so used to it everybody knows a truck has hit the viaduct," she said.

The result has been tops of trucks rolled back like sardine cans and an overpass scraped up with small chunks of concrete missing.

"I think it is pretty obvious that the signage is poor," said Stewart.
 
She pointed to the angled overpass as part of the problem. On one side of the overpass the clearance is 10-feet 6-inches, and on the other side it is 11-feet.

"If somebody either doesn't see the sign because it is in a bad place or reads the one with only the high clearance, they'll hit," she said.
 
According to Stewart, her office raised concerns to the city and state without results.

"After the Skagit bridge collapse we became really concerned again," said Stewart. "We feel like it is just a matter of time before something like that happens right here."

Washington State Department of Transportation spokesperson Travis Phelps said each reported bridge strike is investigated and the Highway 99 overpass is in no danger of collapse. However, after KING 5 brought up these concerns, the state plans to take a closer look.

"WSDOT will be speaking with the city about signage in the area, truck routes, and we will be looking at this area again," said Phelps by phone Thursday night.
 
SDOT spokesperson Rick Sheridan was also reached by phone Thursday evening.

“The city will investigate and determine if more signage is needed. However, drivers need to know the height of their vehicle and the height limit restrictions," said Sheridan.
 
 

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