Turned over crane on Hamilton Pool Road

March 19, 2007

The driver of this truck was hauling a crane that weighs 128,000 lbs. (and that doesn't count the weight of the tractor-trailer itself).

Because there is STILL no big sign saying "BIG TRUCKS GO NO FARTHER - TURN AROUND HERE" (or something of the like), he passed right by the truck turnaround across from Norsworthy Ranch on the east side of the Pedernales River.

Note that, to their credit, the Travis County Sherrif's department was on the scene quickly (see the car in the background?). But then they go and blow it because the deputy had nothing that could be used to help with a fuel spill.

Here's the diesel fuel spilling out of the tank and down the road toward the river. And there is not a bucket in sight.

Diesel fuel spilling on road
Bucket catching fuel

So I ran home and brought back a couple of old buckets which I donated to the cause. Here's one bucket. The other is on standby.

If you want to complain, note the name of the company that sent these poor shleps out here with that honker of a truck.

The diesel fuel wasn't the only toxic chemical let loose by this stupidity. Here's hydraulic fluid spilling from the overturned crane.

Hydraulic fluid spill
Very long truck.

Think something this massive belongs anywhere near here?

Notice the tractor's wheels in the air? That guy could have been killed.

On the right, you can see the driver trying to explain it to his boss (in the hat) who had just arrived from San Antonio.

Here's the way the crane operator (who was not driving) explained it to me: Seems they passed the turnaround and started down that hairpin curve when they realized they might not actually be able to make it. So the driver stopped, the crane operator got out and went around back to help guide while the driver backed the rig back up the hill. He no sooner put it in reverse than the rear wheeld went over into the ditch and KABOOM, the crane dumped over. They are bringing in a 200,000 lb. crane to right the 128,000 lb. smaller one. Whew!


Explaining overturned truck to the boss

But what would have happened if these guys had made it down to the bridge? There's no way in the world they could have made it across, let alone up the other side. Lots smaller trucks have tried and failed. This guy should never have been there. Their load exceeded the bridge's capacity several-fold. This was a lucky accident - nobody was hurt and the spill has not yet unleashed too much pollution. But what is the next one going to be like?

LATE BREAKING NEWS: An anonymous citizen has taken it into her own hands to put up some signs. Check it out here.

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