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State increases communication on bridge weight limits

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The Texas Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety are working more closely to ensure that bridges in Texas are safe.


Communications between the two agencies will improve as TxDOT recently implemented a procedure to immediately notify DPS whenever there is a change to a bridge's maximum weight allowance.


Once bridge load posting signs have been installed or removed, an electronic notification is sent from TxDOT to DPS notifying them of the change.


“This new communication tool is another effort launched to improve the safety of Texas bridges,” said Steve Simmons, TxDOT Deputy Executive Director.  “Partnering in this effort fortifies the focus on safety by both agencies.”


TxDOT engineers make recommendations to the Texas Transportation Commission to restrict the weight limits allowed on certain bridges. 


If the Commission approves a recommendation, signs are posted on each side of a bridge warning drivers of the maximum weight allowed.  Oftentimes, these signs are ignored and disregarded by motorists. 


DPS is tasked with the enforcement of posted bridge weight restrictions through its commercial vehicle enforcement operations.


This new procedure makes DPS immediately aware of changes in the maximum weight allowed on load-restricted bridges and improves compliance monitoring by DPS troopers.


Drivers ignoring signs endanger themselves, other motorists and infrastructure and will be subject to the appropriate enforcement action.


Bridge Facts
*    TxDOT oversees more than 50,000 bridges statewide, including both on- and off-system.
*    From FY 2006 to FY 2008, the number of sufficient bridges (good or better) increased by 1,236..
*    During FY 2008, Texas contracted projects to address 66 structurally deficient  bridges and 88 functionally obsolete on-system


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