12 OYS: Concerns about I-20 bridge safety following tractor trailer crash

News 12 at 6 o'clock / June 26, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) --
Leonard George has been driving tractor trailers for 28 years, and said he never takes the road for granted. "When you think you have mastered it. that's the day you die," said George.

His route took him past the scene of the accident that happened before sunrise this Thursday morning. "Night driving can be good in one sense, and in another sense it can be dangerous," said George.

There are few details right now about what might have caused the driver to lose control plummeting into the canal below.

George has traveled the bridge before and says it is just not safe. "Widen that bridge, because it is unsafe for trucks, cars, or anybody, because it narrows too much. When it narrows too much you got people coming to the left and people coming to the right," said George.

Thursday morning's crash was not the first on the span. In the past few years there have been several trucks that have wrecked on the bridge including one in 2011 that killed 54 year-old Benjamin Cunningham. Since then, Georgia DOT performed slab repair on the bridge along the outer east bound lane.

"They're hitting the side. The side rails, they need to widen it," said George. Three years ago Georgia DOT conducted a study on alternatives to replacing the bridge.

Among the nearly 20 recommended improvements, only five are being considered, including improving drainage on the bridge's surface. Meanwhile George will be even more careful the next time he crosses over the span.

"I've been thinking of myself going over it. It doesn't take but one second. One mistake," said George. In the past few years there have been several truck accidents on that bridge. Two of them involved tractor trailers and were fatal.

GDOT says there is a project that calls for replacing the bridge but it has not been fully funded.


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