There are a wide variety of road warning signs to keep you and everyone around you safe. Many of these signs are geared towards large vehicles that are simply to big or too heavy for narrow roads and small bridges. Every single one of these signs is important, but being over the weight limit didn’t matter to one bus driver who crossed a wooden bridge and risked his life and the lives of everyone on board.
The Beaver Bridge in Fayetteville, Arkansas is a wooden structure built back in 1949. It’s only one lane wide and it has a posted weigh limit of 10 tons. It can easily handle the family sedan, but it absolutely was not designed to manage the weight of a tour bus. Despite being way over the limit at about 35 tons, this coach bus crossed the bridge anyway and is lucky it made it to the other side.
A bystander caught the action, which is frightening enough to make you consider the long way home even if you’re under the weight limit. As soon as the bus’s full weight is on the bridge, you’ll see it bow, but it gets worse past the first support.
Once the bus crosses that support and attempts the wider span that crosses Table Rock Lake, the bridge really shows the strain as the entire thing bends beneath the wheels. It doesn’t look like it’s going to hold and apparently plenty of people waiting to cross thought the same thing as they honked at the reckless driver.
The bus does make it to the other side without incident, but the danger isn’t really over. The strain put on the bridge by this crossing made its safety for other drivers questionable. It was cause enough for the Arkansas Department of Transportation to close it down.
Carroll Co: Hwy. 187 bridge at Beaver is closed for structural inspection. The bridge will remain closed until the review is complete. Monitor traffic anytime at https://t.co/l1xGNNTado. #artraffic #nwatraffic pic.twitter.com/O8uysvPHWI
— Arkansas DOT (@myARDOT) October 16, 2018
The bridge was already undergoing routine inspections and it was initially determined to be safe, but was closed down for additional inspections. It was reopened a few days later after engineers determined the bus hadn’t caused any damage.
Carroll Co: Hwy. 187 bridge at Beaver is now open. A structural safety inspection reveals the bridge is safe for public use. Monitor traffic anytime at https://t.co/l1xGNNTado. #artraffic #nwatraffic pic.twitter.com/LdpugTEMbd
— Arkansas DOT (@myARDOT) October 18, 2018
It turned out fine this time, but watching that bus attempt the crossing certainly gives pause. This happened to be caught on video and the state was notified so they could check the bridge’s safety, but how many times does this happen without any knowing?