TxDOT goes high-tech to prevent truck crashes

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It seems to happen over and over again -- too-tall trucks hitting freeway bridges and overpasses.

The latest hit happened earlier this month.

TxDOT is now using infrared technology to try to stop drivers with dangerously large loads before it's too late.

When trucks that are too tall slam into bridges and overpasses, it can cause traffic tie-ups and congestion that impacts the entire city.

The Houston Avenue Bridge over I-10 has been hit at least six times in the last 10 months, shutting down the freeway each time.

RELATED: 8 ways TxDOT plans to ease road congestion in Greater Houston area

Bridge strikes like this create on average $200,000 to $300,000 worth of damage.

Truck driver Roderick Weathersby said truckers too often ignore clearance signs and deviate from their approved routes to try to save time.

"A lot of it is on the driver not knowing how tall his load is and not being aware of what the clearance is on the bridge," said Weathersby.

In an attempt to stop these drivers, in 2015, TxDOT installed cameras with infrared technology on I-10 at Mercury and at Wirt to detect truck loads taller than 14 feet.

This height poses a threat to bridges and overpasses in the core of the city.

When the system is triggered, it takes a picture, and a sign lights up instructing drivers to exit to 610 where the bridges are taller.

New reports from TxDOT show that the system has been set off more than 14,000 times so far this year.

TxDOT now wants to expand the warning system to additional locations.

Each detection site costs less than $200,000, which is less than the average cost of repairs following a single bridge hit.

RELATED: New technology may soon Help TxDOT save time and money on construction projects
EMBED More News Videos

New technology could help with TXDOT projects, Elissa Rivas reports.

Report a typo to the ABC13 staff

Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.