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Most recent semi-strike on Pinecrest overpass brings questions of safety

Wednesday evening, a semi truck hauling several cars struck the Pinecrest overpass on I-74 westbound.

Per an incident report, car parts were scattered about the incident, and took several hours to clean.

Wednesday’s accident is just the latest in a string of similar incidents over the last year and a half.

“Sometimes, they (drivers) will let air out of the tires on their tractor (to make clearance),” explained Kenneth Baker, a truck driving instructor at Illinois Central College. “But that doesn’t take into consideration anything else that’s on that trailer, height-wise.”

Baker has been teaching at ICC for years, and knows just how much planning goes into getting goods from Point A to B.

“When we talk about the bridges, you make sure you’re 13’6. You can’t fit under a 13’2 bridge, you can’t fit under a 12’2 bridge.”

Since a fatal truck-strike at the overpass in April of 2018, numerous signs have been posted highlighting the 14’3 or 14’4 clearance (depending on direction of travel).

That still hasn’t stopped accident after accident.

The latest bridge inspection report from IDOT calls the Pinecrest overpass ‘intolerable,’ for its height and in high priority for correction.

IDOT engineers did not return our calls for comment.

As far as what truckers themselves want to see on the road, Baker says more signs.

That, and having other drivers give trucks the space they deserve.

“You have no idea what’s going to happen, none at all. If it’s going to kick up a rock, or blow a tire, or…hit a bridge. Be observant, that’s all.”

If you’d like to review the inspection reports of other bridges in the area, you can click here for IDOT’s portal.

Mason Dowling

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