Truck/bridge collisions add up for taxpayers
A truck driver with a load that was too tall for an Eagle River bridge caused expensive damage and headaches for Glenn Highway drivers last month. The state estimates the bill could come to around $1.8 million. Will taxpayers pay any of that bill? They may if history repeats itself.
The state says a commercial truck hit the Eklutna bridge in July 2010. According to an incident report obtained by KTVA back then, a DOT officer cited the driver. The report indicates the driver told the officer he did not measure his load before leaving Anchorage. Then, four months later another truck hit the same bridge.
"In both instances, the overpass was struck by commercial vehicles with heights greater than the bridge elevation, said Maria Bahr with the Alaska Department of Law.
The state broke down the repair costs Friday. It cites the actual repairs to both bridges as $617,285. Internal costs were $117,617. And the cost associated with traffic control was $200,000 to $300,000. That totals more than $1 million. However, the state says it only recouped $485,000 from two insurance companies. Leaving the state to pay around $549,000.
KTVA 11 asked about that burden to taxpayers.
"This agreement was reached after a careful analysis by [the Department of] Law of the costs associated with the possibility of prolonged litigation," said Bahr.
She said the internal expenses, more than $100,000, were considered likely not recoverable in litigation.
KTVA also asked whether the same process would be used in the Eagle River bridge incident.
"It’s too early in the process to make any predictions on how costs will be recovered for damage to the Eagle River bridge and whether any litigation will be involved," said Bahr.
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