Collision With Guardrail On O’Byrnes Ferry Road Bridge Requires Repairs, Traffic Delays
Copperopolis, CA — Twice this year semis pulling trailers have ended up sideswiping the guardrails and narrowly escaping going off the O’Byrnes Ferry Road Bridge in the Copperopolis area.
The most recent crash involved a big rig on the Calaveras side of the bridge crossing over Lake Tulloch on the night of Sept. 28th. As the pictures in the image box show, the truck’s trailer hit and scraped along a section of guardrail, bending it and leaving its back-right wheels dangling over the water below. Tow crews were able to pull the truck back onto the roadway, but the guardrail was nearly broken away from the bridge.
Traffic can currently use the roadway, as Calaveras County Public Works Director Josh Pack explains, “The bridge itself was not otherwise significantly damage and the bridge is safe to traffic, minus the damages to the guardrail.”
Immediately, after the collision, plastic posts were placed around the damaged area and remain as the repairs have not yet been made. Pack details why, “The damage that was done is not something our crews can repair. We just don’t have the metalwork capability to do that sort of specialized work,”
With three major damage incidents caused by oversized vehicles using the very narrow bridge in the past two years, road officials for both Calaveras and Tuolumne counties are looking at possible short-term solutions to reduce the frequency and severity of oversized vehicle impacts with the guardrail. Pack advises, “I think looking at everything and doing the appropriate response based on what the need is while trying to minimize the impacts, the unintended consequences to local businesses, is something we need to take in mind. But obviously, safety is first, second and third in this scenario.”
Road crews met with a specialized guardrail contractor, Dirt and Aggregate Interchange, Inc. out of Oregon on Friday, Oct. 2nd to discuss a plan of action. To lessen the impact on travelers it was decided that the work will be done overnight on Oct. 14th beginning at 9 p.m. with completion around 9 a.m. That will still require the south lane of the bridge to be closed forcing one-way traffic with flaggers. Motorists can expect 15 to 20-minute delays.
Looking for a silver lining, Pack shares that the first crash at the beginning of the summer cost $17,500 to repair. He offers, “Fortunately, in this case, the driver was cited for the damage, and local taxpayers will not be on the hook for the cost of these repairs.”