Houstonians’ traffic headaches are hanging out under a bridge downtown, but city officials are working on a solution

A bus is lodged into an overpass at the Miami International Airport on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012. The vehicle was carrying over 30 people when it crashed into the structure. Authorities say buses typically are routed through the departures area, which has a higher clearance. (AP Photo/Suzette Laboy)

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Drivers eastbound on I-10 are tired of having their commute ruined by a low overpass near Houston Avenue big trucks keeping hitting the bridge, turning the highway behind them into a parking lot.

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Driver Cathy Oman told The Houston Chronicle, “It’s all the time.”

Most recently, a truck crashed into the overpass on Monday and lost its shipping crate, causing another car to crash into the median.

The driver of the passenger car was transported to the hospital, and commuters were left sitting on the freeway, while authorities attempted to remove the damaged shipping crate.

While the bridge beams were damaged in the accident, the bridge did not require immediate repairs – this time.

Drivers reported the accident at 6:45 a.m., and officials didn’t reopen the three closed lanes of highway until after 10:00 a.m., significantly impacting Monday morning commuter traffic on I-10.

So far in 2017, 22 trucks were involved in an accident with a bridge or underpass in Houston, compared to 30 for the entire year during 2016 – the all time record.

The bridge over I-10 at Houston Avenue is responsible for four of those crashes over the past nine months, and Houstonians are tired of dealing with the headache.

While drivers are irritated, transportation experts are perplexed: overpass and bridge strikes are increasing, but they’re not sure why.

The bridge has a minimum of 14-feet, 3-inches of clearance, but larger loads, which should have a permit, but often don’t, may not make the pass.

Transportation officials say they’ve noticed some individuals are transporting items too large for their issued permits. When questioned, the drivers say they didn’t know.

Fixing the low overpasses could be costly, not to mention long-term, but experts may have a temporary solution.

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“There’s no easy, immediate fix,” Dan Middleton of the A&M Transportation Institute said in an interview, “But you can put up warning systems.”

You’ve been warned, Houston.


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