It has been a troubling week for Westman bridges.
The back of a semi-trailer was sheared off after the operator drove under the Kemnay bridge on Highway 1A yesterday morning in what has become a familiar accident to police.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Mike Zens said police have no idea why an estimated six trucks per year — too high for the underpass — fail to obey the various signs and signals alerting operators to avoid the bridge and get stuck.
"I wish we had that answer," he said.
"I don’t have the answer as to why these professional drivers continue to not recognize that their vehicle is too high for that bridge."
In the latest incident involving an eastbound truck hauling canola seed, a 23-year-old man from Lethbridge, Alta., was handed a $203.80 ticket.
Among the various warnings on the road, a laser sensor is installed on the road leading up to the bridge triggered by over-height vehicles that alerts the driver their truck is too tall to pass under the bridge. Drivers are alerted with a flashing light which goes off for a few seconds to alert only the intended over-height vehicle and not any trailing cars or trucks.
There are also marked detour routes to avoid the bridge.
Zens said he doesn’t know what else police can do to curb the number of Kemnay bridge accidents and said the "onus is squarely on the operator of the vehicle."
"I don’t know how much more markings can be placed, I mean, the markings are there."
Meanwhile, the Eighth Street bridge in Brandon, struck by a dump truck earlier this week, is now open to pedestrian traffic following an assessment on Friday by a Winnipeg-based structural engineer.
However, the city won’t know until Monday if the bridge can withstand vehicle traffic.
"(The engineers) have recommended to keep it closed until that time," said Patrick Pulak, the city’s deputy director of engineering and water resources.
Police say the dump truck driver was charged under the Highway Traffic Act for disobeying a traffic control device. They say the vehicle was taller than the posted clearance under the bridge. According to the province, that ticket comes with a $203.80 fine — the same fine as the semi driver who struck the Kemnay bridge yesterday.
It’s still unclear how much work the Eighth Street bridge will need as a result of the crash and Pulak has requested short-term recommendations from the engineers, which should come along with Monday’s full report.