Semi hauling trailer of blueberries hits support beam, closing bridge until noon

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Multnomah County road maintenance workers attempt to repair the railing on the Stark Street Bridge after it was hit by a truck, closing the bridge. The bridge was reopened at about noon Monday.A semi-truck hauling frozen blueberries struck the Stark Street Bridge early Monday, Oct. 21, causing the bridge to close for about five hours.

After inspecting the nearly 100-year-old steel bridge, a Multnomah County engineer determined it was safe to reopen for traffic, but not until a 10-foot section of guard rail was repaired, said Mike Pullen, a spokesman for the county's transportation division.

The bridge was reopened in both directions by noon.

At about 7 a.m. a semi-truck with a 53-foot-long trailer was transporting blueberries to a processing facility when it failed to navigate a turn onto the bridge, said Lt. Steve Alexander, a Multnomah County sheriff's office spokesman.

The truck had turned right off the historic highway on the east side of the Sandy River onto the narrow two-lane bridge when the trailer clipped or struck the bridge.

It then rode up onto the guard rail and into a structural support beam, where it got stuck, Pullen said.

The name of the driver is not yet available but the trucking company the driver worked for is based out of Quebec, Canada, Alexander said.

Foggy conditions and speed may have contributed to the crash.

In May, an 18-wheeler hauling an oversized load struck a bridge on Interstate 5 in Washington, causing the bridge to collapse 60 miles north of Seattle. Two vehicles tumbled into the Skagit River, but all three people in the vehicles survived.

That bridge, at 1,112 feet long, was four times longer than the Stark Street Bridge's 277 feet.

The Stark Street Bridge opened in January 1915, connecting Stark Street with the historic highway, according to Wikipedia. The $21,000 steel-truss bridge replaced a wooden structure that fell on April 25, 1914, dropping a 5-ton truck into the Sandy River OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Fog and speed may have played roles in a crash involving a trucks trailer and the Stark Street Bridge  over the Sandy River on Monday morning, Oct. 21. The bridge was inspected by Multnomah County bridge engineers and reopened early Monday afternoon.

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