The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is now using infrared technology to try to stop truck drivers with dangerously large loads from hitting freeway bridges and overpasses.
When trucks that are too tall slam into these structures, 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. Bridge strikes like this create on average $200,000 to $300,000 worth of damage.
In 2015, in an attempt to stop truck drivers from causing this damage, TxDOT installed cameras with infrared technology on I-10 at Mercury and at Wirt to detect truck loads taller than 14 ft, a height that 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 to instruct drivers to exit to I-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.
Each detection site costs less than $200,000, which is less than the average cost of repairs following a single bridge hit. TxDOT now wants to expand the warning system to additional locations.