TRURO - Two trucks that left the road on Tuesday while carrying long, heavy loads is an indication that better safety measures are required, a Colchester County councillor says.
© HARRY SULLIVAN – TRURO DAILY NEWS
John Crout, far left, received some minor cuts and scratches after the unenclosed dolly he was operating - as part of a rig hauling a large concrete bridge girder - left the road near Portapique Tuesday afternoon.
"I am a bit concerned. These things are not safe to be on the road," said West Colchester Coun. Tom Taggart, regarding two separate incidents involving trucks hauling concrete bridge girders that left the road on Highway 2 in the Portipique and Five Islands areas.
The concrete structures each weigh 63 tonnes and measure 37.8 metres (126 ft.) in length and serve as the trailer for the rig, with a dolly holding up the rear section.
"When they decide to go somewhere, they go, simple as that," Taggart said, of the steerable dolly that is controlled by an unenclosed operator at the rear of the rig.
"When it happens twice in one day, there's clearly something that is not right there," he said. "The one in Five Islands went clear across the road (on a curve, and into the ditch)."
Taggart said he was just a few vehicles between the rig that went off the road in Portipique and watched it roll over on its side.
An RCMP spokesman said the truck driver of that rig was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. The rear operator, meanwhile, received minor cuts and scratches to his face and hands when he left the dolly and landed in the ditch.
RCMP Cpl. Addie Maccallum said the rigs, belonging to Mills Heavy Hauling of Halifax, were moving slowly, did not involve high-speed impacts and both incidents are being treated as accidents.
"Our investigation didn't find anything that was criminal," he said.
Taggart said the concrete structures were destined for a bridge being constructed in the Springhill area. They were being transported through the West Colchester shoreline route, he said, because the roads leading directly into the bridge through Springhill are not accessible to the long loads.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal said staff from its vehicle compliance division cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.
But Pamela Menchenton said the normal process in such cases is that vehicle compliance officers are called in by police whenever there is an incident involving a commercial vehicle to inspect a driver's fitness for work, and the mechanical fitness of the vehicle and that all paperwork associated with the vehicle and driver is in order.
Maccallum said the vehicle compliance officers who investigated the two accidents did not find anything abnormal about the equipment or drivers in either case.
John Crout, the dolly operator of the rig that went off the road in Portapique, said the aftermath of the accident looked more dramatic than it actually was.
"It didn't go out of control, it just went off the road," he said. "And that's all it is. It looks more severe than it is because as a result of it (the dolly) going off the road it puts the truck up on its side."
Taggart, however, said that because more large bridge components are going to be travelling the route, both for the Springhill-area project and the Great Village bridge that is also being replaced, he has asked the county CAO to write to vehicle compliance to ensure that all its drivers are properly trained to be operating rigs.
A spokesperson for Mills Heavy Hauling could not be reached for comment by deadline time.