Truck hits Gulick overpass, causing midday traffic slowdown - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Truck hits Gulick overpass, causing midday traffic slowdown

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) -  Traffic on the H-1 Freeway came to a standstill Friday, when a truck hit the Gulick overpass just after 11 am.  It was headed east-bound into town.

Traffic barely moved for a couple of hours when they shut down two lanes on the H-1.  But the Department of Transportation was able to determine the bridge is still structurally sound, and reopen the lanes in time for afternoon commuter traffic.

The H-1 freeway turned into a parking lot shortly at 11:15 am.  Cars were stuck in this traffic quagmire after a truck belonging to Jensen Precast hit the Gulick overpass.

"We have been asking people if they don't have to be on the roadway to please stay off the roads, stay out of their cars," said Brennan Morioka, director of the state Department of Transportation.

It damaged the bridge and sprayed debris on the freeway, forcing the DOT to shut down two lanes.  Engineers examined the bridge and reopened the lanes just after 12:30 pm.

"We're still confident the bridge is structurally sound, but it does have a history of being hit," said Morioka. 

In 2006, a military transport truck hit the Aiea Heights pedestrian overpass.   The damage was so severe, crews had to tear it down. Some have criticized, the bridges are too low, but the DOT says raising them would cost tens of millions of dollars per bridge.

As far as the Gulick overpass, crews will make necessary repairs.

"But also any damage we have to fix we will bill the company for hitting the overpass because the public should not have to pay for the mistakes of others," said Morioka.

The DOT says Jensen Precast has no other history of hitting bridges on Oahu.  Calls to the company were not returned.

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