Road work could last months after spool damages North Sam Houston Parkway overpass at Aldine Westfield

The accident happend on the feeder road of the Sam Houston Tollway at Aldine Westfield

August 8, 2013 3:07:56 PM PDT
It was a traffic nightmare on the North Belt this morning as a lane on the roadway and a road that goes under the overpass were both shut down, the result of damage caused by an unusual accident Wednesday.

It happened at the North Belt and Aldine Westfield. Two large spools on the back of a big rig didn't fit under the overpass, with one of them hitting it.

The overpass was severely damaged, forcing crews to shut down one lane of the freeway, as well as the southbound lanes of Aldine Westfield.

Thursday morning, the delays were felt.

"I've been sitting here for about 30 to 40 minutes," said driver Michelle Brock. "I normally don't come this way. I normally go straight, but it is a mess."

During the rush hour, traffic backed up on the feeder road for miles, with the southbound lanes of Aldine Westfield closed because of damage to the overpass caused by those spools.

"I actually feel sorry for the guy because I guess it could have been prevented," said Brock. "But I just thank God nobody was hurt."

In addition, one lane of the Beltway was closed for safety reasons and TxDOT says both closures could stay in place as long as three months until the broken beam on the bridge can be replaced. That means anyone driving in the area will need to add a little extra time to their trip.

"I could be home right now," said driver Cynobia Jack, who laughed off the delay. "I just got off so I could be home."

TxDOT is looking for ways to ease the traffic congestion while repair work is done.

"Unfortunately, there's just not much that we can do to accelarate it, other than do the emergency contract and get those repairs completed as quickly as possible," TxDOT Spokeswoman Raquelle Lewis said.

So how much traffic normally flows in the area? According to TxDOT, 20,640 vehicles travel on Aldine Westfield north of Beltway 8, 15,050 are on Aldine Westfield south of Beltway 8, 154,000 vehicles travel on Beltway 8 west of Aldine Westfield and 140,000 vehicles travel Beltway 8 east of Aldine Westfield.

A police investigation will determine the cause, and from there, an explanation of liability will determine who pays for repairs.

The trucking company, C&D Diversified, declined to comment on this story. But attorney Daniel Horowitz represents those involved in trucking crashes.

"First, there are more trucks on the road than there ever have been before," Horowitz said. "Second, there's an incentive for truck drivers to kind of skirt the rules because of the way they're financially compensated."

Horowitz is pushing for more regulation for trucking companies.

"When you have a permitted load, you're supposed to make sure the routes you've chosen doesn't have bridges or overpasses that are going to be a problem," he said.

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