INDOT can't speed up work to increase south split bridge clearances, despite spectacular hit Monday

State says it's already expediting work

INDIANAPOLIS - An oversized truck has caused another spectacular hit on an interstate bridge near the south split.

This time it was the driver of an auto carrier trying to wedge it under the Virginia Avenue bridge, with disastrous results. 

But INDOT said it cannot do anything to speed up its project to increase the clearances on those bridges. 

The bridges near the south split have been getting hit more and more over the last few months. 

But Monday’s hit was one of the most spectacular yet.

Video from INDOT's traffic cam shows an auto carrier that's too high for the Virginia Street bridge going through anyway.

The bridge girder shears off the top of one of the cars, and fortunately, it lands on the shoulder and not directly on the highway.

But it raises questions of why INDOT couldn't start the project to close this section of the interstate and begin lowering the roadway sooner than the scheduled late August date.

INDOT spokesperson Nathan Riggs said the department is working as fast as it can.

"We could take emergency procedures for things that might have a quicker turnaround. But here we're planning for a 90-day closure of the interstate. We have to plan for a maintenance of traffic plan. We have to have agreements in place with the City of Indianapolis, Federal Highway Administration," Riggs said. "We have to have the design plan in place and then go through the proper bidding procedures. So all of those steps, taking the proper route, this is as quick of a turnaround as we can deliver this project."

Riggs said INDOT is concerned about further damage from new hits, but says most of the hits just cause cosmetic damage.

"Obviously with the strike that caused the closure of the interstate back in February, you can see the splice plates behind me here, that was a case where it was not cosmetic damage. But most of the time the real issue is the danger to traffic underneath these overpasses as debris gets thrown from these oversized trucks," he said.

Whether the trucking companies wind up paying for the damage or not, Riggs said that the truckers are getting hit, that they are being written tickets by Indiana State Police, at least those that aren't in minor accidents and keep on driving.

INDOT has collected $105,085.35 from the trucking company responsible for that February crash that forced the closing of the interstate and repair of the bridge.

Follow Norman Cox on Twitter: @normancox6

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