An historic Indiana bridge that was demolished by a truck several times heavier than the posted weight limit has finally reopened after two years and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of repair costs.
Six Ton Bridge Collapses Under 43,000 Pound Load
The bridge collapse occurred around noon on Christmas Day, 2015, in Paoli, Indiana, when then 23 year old truck driver Mary Lambright of Louisville Logistics attempted to cross the structure with a load of 43,000 pounds worth of bottled water. Lambright told police that she was attempting to reach a nearby Walmart, but after missing her exit, she wound up in a parking lot, where she tried to turn around. As the parking lot turned out to be too full for Lambright to get her truck turned around, she opted to take her truck over the iron bridge spanning Lick Creek, which was built in 1880.
Not only did the weight of the truck collapse the bridge, but the crash also sheared part of the top off of Lambright’s trailer. Investigators believe that she was traveling around 30 m.p.h. at the time of the collapse. No one was hurt.
Lambright later told authorities that she saw signs warning that the bridge’s weight limit was six tons, but that she was not sure how many pounds made up six tons. The bridge had a no truck sign posted as well.
Lambright was charged with reckless operation of a tractor-trailer, disregarding a traffic control device, and overweight on posted bridge. The judge her case opted to give Lambright the maximum sentence of 180 days in jail.
Lambright lost her job over the incident. She apologized publicly and said that she was very tired when the incident occurred and that she was en route to celebrate the Christmas holiday with her family. She had only had her CDL since May 2015.
Paoli Bridge Finally Back Open To Traffic
A little more than two years after the collapse, the Paoli Bridge has reopened — this time fitted with special barriers to prevent other unsuspecting truck drivers from wandering onto the historic structure. The bridge was renamed Sol Strauss and James M. Tucker Memorial Bridge after local philanthropists.
The insurance company for Louisville Logistics paid out around $700,000 for the repairs.