After an on-again and off-again routine, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and Bay Crane Service Inc., a New York-based shipping company that specializes in hauling oversized loads, announced Monday afternoon an agreement to permit a 16-axle truck carrying a 560,000-pound generator to drive through a portion of the state.
According to a RIDOT press release, as part of the agreement Bay Crane will pay $60,000 for the “unusual circumstances brought about by the unique nature of this incident,” pay for the State Police escort necessary to move the truck and issue a $25 million insurance policy with the State of Rhode Island as a co-insured party in the event of any damages occurring to roads or bridges as a result of the truck’s travel path.
It was agreed the truck would depart the Route 117 Park and Ride parking lot –where it had sat since it was stopped in transit on June 27 – at 7 p.m. Monday evening.
According to RIDOT director, Peter Alviti Jr., a RIDOT bridge employee first noticed the huge truck traveling down I-95 on June 27 as it was headed towards a location on Route 4, leaving from Quonset Point Port. The employee reported the truck to his supervisor, who was aware that a permit for such a load was in process but not yet finalized.
The supervisor then got in touch with RIDOT headquarters, who then called Bay Crane and instructed them to halt the truck until they could assess the situation. The truck was pulled over in a Park and Ride section of I-95, prior to the Route 4 split, where it eventually sat until the agreement was reached on Monday.
It appeared as though RIDOT and Bay Crane had successfully come to terms on an agreement for a solution to the problem the previous Friday, as Alviti called a press conference to announce they had found an alternate route for the truck to travel to a destination in Medway, Mass. that wouldn’t endanger the highly trafficked roads and bridges of I-95.
“The company has been very cooperative,” Alviti said at the press conference. “I think this was proof that our permitting and operations procedures work. And that is good feedback for us at the new DOT.”
However later that same day, it was revealed that Bay Crane had not agreed to the terms laid out by the state after all, and the truck would not be moving anywhere, which was made public when RIDOT issued the following statement on their Facebook page.
“Safety is our first priority at RIDOT. Prior to issuing a permit for the super load truck to proceed, RIDOT sat down to negotiate [a memorandum of understanding] to assure that the company would meet its obligations for the costs this incident has incurred. The parties were not able to reach an agreement. RIDOT is not willing to pass these costs on to the taxpayers of Rhode Island as the costs were incurred as part of an illegal act. Bay Crane should never have proceeded down our roadways without a permit.”
The “costs” refer to assessments for damage that were performed by RIDOT engineers on the roads that were traveled on by the truck before it was stopped in transit – which was carrying a load seven times heavier than what Rhode Island allows for travel without a special permit, which is 80,000 pounds. Alviti reported at the press conference that these assessments revealed no damage to roads or bridges that the truck traveled over.
They also include the overtime hours worked by “over 50” RIDOT personnel during pre and post assessments of bridges and culverts that would be driven over by the truck on the alternate route drawn up by RIDOT, according to Alviti. These costs, Alviti stressed, were the responsibility of the company and not the taxpayers.
However the two parties clearly were not far from the agreement that was expected on Friday, and were able to amicably agree to a solution the following Monday.
That new route will mainly utilize Route 102 and will pass through Warwick, East Greenwich, Coventry, West Greenwich, Scituate, Foster, Gloucester and Burrillville. The route would go over about 50 bridges and culverts, and would require the use of temporary bridge structures.
Alviti said the company could face additional fines, but that the enforcement and levying of such fines is the responsibility of the Rhode Island State Police and not RIDOT.
Bay Crane did not respond to a request for comment from the Beacon before press time.