Cincy's Lytle Tunnel claims another truck

| 7/18/2002

Yet another semi overturned in Cincinnati's Lytle Tunnel July 15, the third time in two weeks a big rig has tumbled on the turn. The Cincinnati Police Department has issued multiple alerts this year to truckers to drive below the posted 55-mph limit through the tunnel because of the possibility for tipping on the steep curve.

The truck, carrying a 45,000-pound steel roll, flipped at the entrance of the tunnel in the northbound lanes of Fort Washington Way, shutting down the freeway for about four hours Monday afternoon. Trucker Chris Suteu of Canton, OH, was not seriously injured.

Monday's crash is the 10th crash in or near the tunnel this year and 20th since the highway opened for full use in January 2001 following a two-year major renovation.

To combat the tunnel's propensity for toppling trucks, the Ohio Transportation Department has erected flashing signs and rumble strips to warn and slow drivers. Officials have even started thinking about such systems as CB radio warning devices that would broadcast advisories about the tunnel to trucks a half-mile to a mile away.

"The thinking is that they would slow down enough in time, so that when they speed up (inside the tunnel), they are not in trouble," an ODOT spokesperson told news reporters. "Most of the accidents are happening when drivers feel they have cleared the tunnel, but in fact are just about to hit the hard part."

Only five days had passed since a truck heading south turned over on July 10 and spilled about 20 rolls of chain-length fence onto the highway. On July 4, a semi, also carrying chain-link fence, overturned as it exited the tunnel.

On May 18, a truck flipped just south of the tunnel, spilling 25 tons of steel rods, and a beer truck overturned on May 29. No one has been seriously hurt in any of the accidents.