State sues logging company for repair cost of SR 16 overpass

Staff writerFebruary 15, 2014 

Crews inspect the spot where concrete fell on Highway 16 after a truck struck the overpass on Jan. 4, 2011.

DREW PERINE — Staff photographer file, 2011 Buy Photo

The state has sued a Lake Stevens-based logging company to recoup more than $1 million spent to repair a state Route 16 overpass damaged when one of the company’s drivers tried to take a too-tall load under it three years ago.

The suit, filed in Pierce County Superior Court last week, names Pacific Logging LLC; the truck driver, Dale Girven; and Steven Miller, thought to have been driving the pilot car escorting the truck that day.

Someone who answered the phone at Pacific Logging last week declined to comment for this story.

The lawsuit stems from a Jan. 4, 2011, incident in Gig Harbor. Girven was driving a truck carrying a large forklift west on the highway when the oversized load struck the Olympic Drive bridge, which crosses state Route 16, the lawsuit states.

A pilot car escorting the truck was carrying a flag purportedly set at 16 feet 2 inches, the suit contends. The vertical clearance under the overpass was 15 feet 7 inches, with an additional 3 inches to allow for the up and down bouncing of trucks and their loads.

The pilot car made it under the overpass but the forklift did not.

“The collision caused substantial damage to the bridge and concrete and caused other bridge debris onto the roadway, temporarily blocking the highway,” the lawsuit contends.

It cost the state more than $1.1 million to repair damage to a concrete girder walloped by the truck.

It was up to Pacific Logging and Girven to make sue the load was short enough to pass under all the bridges and overpasses along its route of travel, the state contends.

“The only known documented measurement of the height of the oversized load” was taken after the truck struck the bridge, according to the lawsuit.

The overpass was struck again in 2013 by another oversized load. The same girder was damaged, and it cost more than $1 million to repair it then, too.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644

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