Another big rig hits bridge in trouble spot on South St. Mary's

City considering warning lights for area

SAN ANTONIO – Another big rig hit a railroad bridge on South St. Mary's Street near Mission Road Tuesday morning -- a frequent trouble spot for drivers of 18-wheelers.

According to Union Pacific Railroad, which owns the bridge, this was the sixth strike in that same spot within the past 60 days.

The big rig involved this time was not carrying any cargo, unlike one that hit last Monday and spilled a load of soft drinks and milk onto the roadway. It took several hours to clean up that mess.

On Tuesday, a crew with Texas Towing had the wreckage removed in less than two hours.

"We were really fortunate on this one. The trailer was empty," said Jeff Kothmann, who was supervising the towing crew. "This one was simple. Last week was a mess."

Kothmann said his company has handled five other wrecks like this in the same spot since the beginning of the year.

"Just these drivers early in the morning, they're not paying attention to the clearance," he said.

Signs posted on every street leading to the underpass show the clearance for the bridge is 11 feet 3 inches. The truck that hit the bridge was 13 feet 6 inches tall.

The driver told KSAT 12 News that he somehow missed seeing the warning signs.

According to Jeffrey Degraff, a spokesman for Union Pacific, inattention most often is the reason for the crashes.

"We're asking the drivers to pay attention to the signage," he said.

Degraff said the high number of crashes at the location is a concern for the railroad company, and Union Pacific is working closely with the city of San Antonio on a solution.

"This is a roadway issue," he said. "We have no control over the roadways."

Raising the height of the bridge, Degraff said, is not an option.

City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, in whose district the bridge sits, said updates were made to the warning signs in the area in May. However, she noted that the idea of adding flashing lights to them is being considered.

Gonzales said because of the urgency of the situation, she will work on expediting a solution. 

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