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Ministry investigating possible overpass strike in B.C.'s Lower Mainland

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Another truck appears to have made contact with an overpass in the Lower Mainland, B.C.'s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said Tuesday, though the owner of the vehicle involved says nothing was struck.

In a statement to CTV News, the ministry said it "believes a commercial vehicle carrying another vehicle on a flatbed may have made contact with the CPKC rail overhead while travelling on Highway 1 westbound."

Reached by phone, an owner of M&H Transport Ltd. confirmed one of the company's trucks was involved in the incident.

He claimed the driver of the truck involved is an experienced driver who stopped before the overpass, confirmed clearance, and drove through without striking the railway overpass.

"Nothing hit; nothing touched," he said.

Around 2:40 p.m., DriveBC reported that a "vehicle incident" had blocked the right lane of the highway west of the 232 Street exit in Langley, underneath the rail overpass.

A little over an hour later, it reported that the incident had been cleared. A DriveBC webcam in the area still showed significant traffic congestion on Highway 1 westbound as of 4 p.m. 

Traffic on Highway 1 westbound near 232 Street in Langley is seen after an overpass strike farther up the road on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (DriveBC)

The ministry said its maintenance contractor will be examining the rail crossing for damage.

"It’s expected that it would be cosmetic damage only given the minor damage to the cargo," the statement reads, adding that the ministry's Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement branch is investigating.

BC Highway Patrol said it also received a report of a "minor overpass strike" Tuesday.

"There was superficial damage to the overpass and the truck," wrote a BCHP spokesperson in an email.

"It was not serious." 

On Tuesday, the ministry said the CVSE had suspended M&H Transport Ltd. pending an investigation and handed out a $1,772 violation ticket at the scene. 

Overpass strikes have been a frustratingly common occurrence in the Lower Mainland in recent years.

Data collected by the ministry shows 12 incidents across the province so far in 2024, not including the latest possible collision. The majority of those have occurred in the Lower Mainland, including one that happened back in March at the same overpass where Tuesday's incident unfolded. 

That collision, which occurred on March 22, involved a vehicle operated by Best Bin Rentals & Disposal, according to the ministry website, which attributes the crash to "carrier/driver error."

The carrier was suspended and violation tickets issued. The suspension was lifted on March 28 after an action plan was confirmed.

Earlier in March, B.C. officials introduced stiffer penalties for drivers found responsible for damaging provincial infrastructure – including fines of up to $100,000 and imprisonment for up to 18 months, or both.

Those penalties would only apply to drivers who are charged and convicted in court, and would be at the discretion of the judge.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Andrew Weichel 

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