After a crash off of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel last week claimed the life of a truck driver, the safety of the structure has come into question.
Last week, trucker Joseph Chen died of drowning and hypothermia after his truck crashed off of the CBBT while a wind warning was in effect. Numerous sources said that the truck was “blown off” the bridge, but investigators later concluded that driver error was the most likely cause of the fatal crash.
During the entire 50 year lifespan of the CBBT, 3 cars and 11 semi trucks have gone through the guardrail into the water below. One truck every 10 years wouldn’t be so bad, but it seems that truck crashes off of the CBBT are on the upswing.
Of those 11 trucks that have crashed off of the CBBT, 3 have gone off the bridge since 2014, bringing the total closer to one per year since that time.
Mike Crist, Deputy Director of Infrastructure for CBBT maintains that the bridge is safe and that the guardrail system exceeds national safety standards: “Our rails are actually 40 inches tall, which actually exceeds the standards by eight inches to provide additional safety.”
Crist also argues that the CBBT’s fatality rate is half of the national average for the highway system.
CBBT officials also point out that police and maintenance crews are on site every day to keep the structure safe.
— The Virginian-Pilot (@virginianpilot) February 9, 2017