You are here

Strikes on Low Clearance Bridges by Over-Height Trucks in New York State

UTC(s): City College of New York

Publication Date: January, 2013

Recent research conducted by the University Transportation Research Center at the City College of New York, shows that bridges in New York State have been experiencing approximately 200 strikes annually by over-height trucks.1 This study, Bridge-Vehicle Impact Assessment, revealed that a majority of these strikes occur on low-vertical clearance bridges over parkways or other local roadways prohibited to truck traffic. Although New York State has approximately 20,000 bridges, a majority of strikes are on a significantly smaller number of bridges. These bridges are struck multiple times. For example, a bridge carrying King Street in Rye Brook, New York (Westchester County in New York State) has been struck more than 100 times during the last 10 years. While some of these strikes have been seen to cause serious damage to bridges, a majority of bridge strikes create significant threat to public safety and cause severe congestions because of the truck being stuck under the bridge or cargo littering over the roadway.

A detailed survey of all states was carried out to identify the bridge strike problem across the Nation and successful mitigation approaches. Figure 1 shows the responses of state DOTs regarding the seriousness of the bridge strike problem in their state, where red and green colors represent bridge strikes as major or minor problems, respectively (yellow represents no response from the state DOT). It is observed that a majority of the states consider bridge strikes to be a major problem. In the Northeast, all responding states, except Massachusetts and Virginia, consider bridge strikes to be a major problem. Figure 1 also shows the total number of bridge strikes during 2005 to 2008. Some states, such as Louisiana, perceive bridge strikes to be a major problem even though there have only been 40 instances of strikes causing serious damages to bridges. On the other hand, engineers in Missouri don’t perceive bridge strikes as a serious problem even though there have been 1,691 impacts to bridges.

About This Project

Anil K. Agrawal, Ph.D., is a professor of structural / bridge engineering at the City College of the City University of New York since 1998. He is the Chief Editor of the ASCE Journal of Bridge Engineering and Chair of the ASCE Committee on Bridge Inspection, Rehabilitation, and Management. He received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Irvine in 1997, M. Eng. from the University of Tokyo, Japan, in 1991 and B. Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1988. His primary focus of research is in the areas of structural dynamics and bridge engineering.

Submit Feedback >