Alabama DOT targets steel coil loads on Birmingham roads

| 6/16/2006

The Alabama Department of Transportation is cracking down on truckers hauling heavy steel coils through urban areas of Birmingham.

According to the Birmingham News, extra truck inspectors have been set up on stretches of Interstates 65, 459 and 59 to ensure proper cargo securement of the giant bundles, which are frequently used in construction projects.

On Wednesday, June 14, the inspection blitz checked 30 haulers, three of whom were put out of service, the newspaper reported. An additional five trucks were issued weight violations.

Brian Davis, an engineer for the Alabama DOT’s third division in Birmingham, said there have been three or four incidents in the past two years involving steel coils breaking loose from trucks.

Davis said that so far, there have been no serious injuries as a result of the coils breaking free. However, the incidents have shut down the roadways for several hours. The most recent incident on Interstate 20/59 at the 31st Street Exit crippled traffic in the area for almost 10 hours, the News reported.

“We’ve had so many trucks turn over in downtown Birmingham recently, and so many steel coils that weigh 40,000 pounds go bouncing across the road, knocking holes in our bridge deck, I’ve been pretty vocal about the fact that somebody’s got to do something,” Davis said.

In addition to the checkpoints, Davis said the state is recommending language that would tighten securement regulations in the state, or prohibit trucks that haul the steel coils from traveling on interstates.

“We’ve been talking with some local representatives, saying that we’ve got to change the legislation,” he said. “It’s not just the inconvenience that DOT goes through of fixing these bridge decks … at some point, we’re going to get someone killed.”

– By Aaron Ladage, staff writer