Again? Downtown Billings Sky Bridge Hit By Another Oversized Load
Just over a week ago (3/10) I was working in our building on the 23rd floor of the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Billings when I got a text from a co-worker who had just left our office. She sent me a picture of an oversized load semi-truck that had apparently gotten stuck under the pedestrian sky bridge that runs from the hotel, over 1st Ave N, into parking garage #2. On Friday aftrnoon (3/18) it happened again.
This time, the truck was stuck.
When it happened last week, I don't believe the truck actually got stuck under the walkway. I didn't see any damage to the freight, and officers eventually got the driver backed up (the wrong way) down 1st Ave N so he could reroute. Today's driver appeared to be a little less fortunate.
He almost made it under the sky bridge.
For many things in life, "close enough" works just fine. Maneuvering oversized loads under tight clearances is not one of those instances. The cargo on the trailer looked to be about 3 inches too tall to pass underneath.
Where was the escort vehicle?
Community social media pages were buzzing with questions on why this has happened twice in the past eight days. I wonder the same thing. One possible explanation is that oversized loads are being rerouted through downtown because of construction on the Lockwood bridge. I was unable to confirm this explanation at the time of this post.
Why isn't the clearance posted on the sky bridge?
OPINION: I'm not sure who is responsible for placing a clearance sign on the sky bridge. It may fall under the responsibility of MDOT, the CIty of Billings, or maybe even the hotel. Someone should probably put one up before it gets hits again. Perhaps maybe some "WARNING, LOW CLEARANCE" signs a few blocks east? If the sky bridge gets hit with speed, I'm certain it could cause serious damage.