Too-short Fairfield bridges take beating from too-tall vehicles
Published 2:20 pm, Thursday, May 14, 2015
Two bridges in town were struck by oversized vehicles in separate crashes Wednesday and Thursday, but no serious injuries were suffered in either incident, according to police.
The first accident involved a chartered coach bus bringing Fairfield University students to an event Wednesday evening.
The bus, instead of using the Unquowa Road bridge to travel over the railroad tracks from Veterans Park on Reef Road to the campus, turned onto North Benson Road from the Post Road and hit the railroad underpass. The North Benson rail span is posted as having clearance of 10 feet, 7 inches. The 2015 bus, owned by Franmar Leasing based in Chicago, Ill., is 11 feet in height.
As the entered traveled beneath the bridge, its roof hit the train trestle, ripping off the air conditioning vents and shattering the rear window. The driver, Ian Duncan, 33, of New York, told police he knew the height of the bus and saw the sign giving the bridge's clearance, according to the report. He was issued an infraction for operating a motor vehicle that exceeds the posted height limit.
Several students on board the bus complained of having glass slivers in their eyes and were attended to by AMR personnel. However, no one went to the hospital and a replacement bus was called to bring the seniors to the event on campus.
The second accident took place Thursday morning when a dump-truck trailer hauling an excavator on its flatbed struck with the Interstate 95 overpass on Mill Plain Road.
The boom of the excavator became wedged under the bridge, and the truck's tires had to be deflated so it could be freed to move it. The driver said he travels Mill Plain Road regularly, but was unsure of the height of the new excavator on the flatbed.
Mill Plain Road was closed while the truck was being removed and to allow engineers from the state Department of Transportation to inspect the bridge.
There were no injuries reported, and no tickets issued in connection with the Mill Plain incident.