The problem of overweight trucks on I-285 has been exposed in recent records
ATLANTA — As commuters in Sandy Springs continue to deal with the loss of a bridge that was struck by an oversized truck, law enforcement officers in Georgia stopped drivers behind the wheel of other trucks that were thousands of pounds overweight.
It’s been a little more than a month since a nearly four-foot-tall, 40,000-pound truck crashed into the Mount Vernon Expressway bridge over I-285. Georgia Department of Transportation inspectors found extensive damage that forced the bridge to be permanently closed. Contractors are now rushing to build a new bridge.
Lisa Hronczyk lives in the area and said losing the bridge has added significant time to her trips from one side of I-285 to the other.
“It was definitely painful,” Hronczyk said. “I would say this affects me at least three to five round trips a day.”
RELATED: Truck that crashed into I-285 bridge was 40,000 pounds overweight, nearly four feet under, inspectors report
After seeing the dimensions of the truck that destroyed the bridge, 11Alive wanted to know if trucks that size are rare or common on I-285. The Georgia Department of Public Safety introduced citations issued to drivers behind the wheel of overweight trucks this year.
In addition to the truck that was 40,300 pounds overweight, troopers with the state’s Motor Carrier Compliance Division issued citations for trucks weighing more than 12,700 pounds, 11,300 pounds and 9,700 pounds.
So far this year, fewer than a dozen citations have been written to trucks on I-285. Soldiers with Motor Carrier compatibility say there are several reasons for this. Among them – many oversized trucks are parked at weigh stations outside of metro Atlanta.
RELATED: GDOT: Expect long-term closure of Mount Vernon Expressway bridge in Sandy Springs
Fines depend on how much the truck exceeds the legal limit. The truck that struck the Mount Vernon Bridge has been fined $2,015. The citation for a truck over 11,300 pounds lists the fine amount at $565.
One driver was issued a ticket for two days in a row. On September 1, he was fined for driving a truck £7,900 over the legal limit. The next day, he received a permit to transport pulpwood in a truck weighing more than 5,300 pounds.
Drivers can apply for a permit to temporarily exceed height and weight limits, but then must follow a route that will keep them out of dangerous situations such as a bridge that they could damage if they drive over or under it.
According to the commander of the State Patrol’s Motor Carrier Compliance Division, oversized trucks are more likely to roll over. Drivers have more difficulty stopping.
In addition, there is the damage to our roads.
According to a study by the New York Department of Transportation, illegally overweight trucks could be responsible for up to $43 million annually in damaged infrastructure in that state.
In metro Atlanta, drivers continue to deal with headaches left by damage to the Mount Vernon Bridge caused by a full-size truck.