The state Transportation Department will require the driver of a large truck that brought down a popular pedestrian bridge Tuesday in Aiea to pay for repairs.
DOT spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter said Wednesday estimates are still preliminary, but it's believed repairing the bridge could cost $200,000 to $300,000. She said the driver of the dump truck, Don Tibbitts, did not have a permit to transport a large forklift on a trailer that destroyed a section of the overpass just after noon Tuesday.
"If they would have contacted our permits office, then we could've advised them that their load was too high to pass under that bridge," said Sluyter.
Tibbitts is the owner of Tibbitts Trucking LLC, a company authorized to carry general freight on Oahu with a P.O. Box address in Kaneohe. When contacted by KITV4 Wednesday morning, Tibbitts had no comment.
According to records kept by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Tibbitts' company has never suffered a prior accident. However, state records show he's racked up 26 traffic violations since 1992, including four speeding tickets and an arrest for drunken driving in April 1993.
Honolulu police continue to investigate Tuesday's collision that rendered the pedestrian bridge useless, but there's no indication Tibbitts was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or, if speed was a factor.
Sluyter said Tibbitts' company has a "few" outstanding DOT infractions, but nothing that would be considered serious. She could not specify what the violations were, but gave examples of a broken taillight, or a missing side view mirror.
According to state law, no vehicle is allowed on a road or highway if its height or load exceeds 14 feet.
Sluyter said the DOT issues 3,500 to 4,500 permits every year on Oahu for oversized loads. The permits cost a mere $5 and help truckers avoid any problems like the one that occurred Tuesday.
School asks for waiver
Meanwhile, the principal of Aiea Elementary School is requesting a bus transportation waiver from the Department of Education for about 20 students who used to trek across the pedestrian bridge every day. Kathleen O'Malley said the waiver is necessary since the children live closer than 1.5 miles from the school.
"It's moving, it's definitely moving," O'Malley said of the waiver request. "I don't want any of the children to have to walk down two blocks, across one street (and) then another one. It's just a little nerve-racking."
O'Malley credited Gomes School Bus service with jumping into action Tuesday once school administrators realized a large section of the overpass had come tumbling down.
"The bus company came through, and got us all the help that we needed," she said.
Parents who rely on the overpass as a way for their kids to walk home safely from Aiea Elementary are hoping the state declares the situation an emergency, thus allowing repairs to be expedited.
"That'd be nice if they did it right away," said Richard Stuber, who picked up his two sons by car Wednesday due to the bridge collapse. "I like to walk to exercise and come get them, and they enjoy the walk too."
"It's kind of inconvenient because I have to go all the way back down," added Ui Mahoe, who has two children at the school. "I think it's best that they go on the (school) bus."
DOT will ask driver of truck that struck pedestrian bridge to pay for repairsPublished 9:11 PM HST Oct 17, 2012
The state Transportation Department will require the driver of a large truck that brought down a popular pedestrian bridge Tuesday in Aiea to pay for repairs.Recommended