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Highway 126: backhoe stops traffic when Edwards Ranch overpass struck

October 30, 2009
Santa Paula News

A Highway 126 overpass, already the scene of several bottom hits from passing trucks, was again struck Tuesday sending a back hoe boom and chunks of concrete onto the road and causing the closure of eastbound lanes for about four hours.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesA Highway 126 overpass, already the scene of several bottom hits from passing trucks, was again struck Tuesday sending a back hoe boom and chunks of concrete onto the road and causing the closure of eastbound lanes for about four hours.According to Officer Steve Reid of the California Highway Patrol, the non-injury collision occurred October 27 at about 8:32 a.m. when a towed backhoe struck the Edwards Ranch Road overpass, located west of Santa Paula.Lance Erickson, 48, of Monrovia, was driving a 1995 Peterbilt dump truck eastbound at about 45-50 mph in the #2 lane when he approached Edwards Ranch Road.The Peterbilt was “towing a trailer loaded with backhoe construction vehicle,” that Officer Reid said was “loaded with the front end positioned towards the rear of the trailer.”As Erickson continued traveling eastbound, the backhoe’s boom struck the bottom portion of the overpass.As a result of the collision Officer Reid said, “The boom was dislodged from the backhoe and came to rest in the #2 lane” and chunks of concrete broke off the overpass.Both lanes on eastbound Highway 126 at Edwards Ranch Road were closed while California Department of Transportation crews conducted clean-up operations and inspected the damage to the overpass.
Eastbound traffic was diverted into the center divider during the cleanup but the mishap caused a major slowdown.There were no injuries in the collision and the roadway was opened again at approximately 1:15 p.m.Officer Reid said the bottom portion of the clearly marked overpass is 15 feet 3 inches from the roadway surface.The CHP is investigating why the backhoe’s boom was not secured in a position that would have allowed the vehicle to safety pass under the overpass.Erickson was not cited pending the outcome of the investigation.Caltrans reduced traffic to one lane on the overpass as a result of the crash, which caused an estimated $75,000 damage.Repairs on the overpass - which has been struck in the past including one incident last year - are already underway.



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