State officials are investigating the collapse last week of a temporary bridge near Lompoc that caved in just seconds after an 83-ton truck crossed it, sending the next vehicle on a harrowing slide to the creek bed about 30 feet below.
The driver of the vehicle that crashed, San Fernando Valley resident Brian Foster, was not seriously injured.
As a result of the accident, state Sen. Joe Dunn (D-Santa Ana) said he plans to call for an expanded inquiry into the troubled office that issues route permits for oversize trucks. A permit had been issued for the truck to cross the temporary bridge that day.
"Early indications are that we had a permit that never should have been issued for this size weight for this temporary bridge," Dunn said.
Officials from the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, which oversees the California Department of Transportation, said they have not yet pinpointed the cause of the structural failure, and are looking at a number of possibilities.
The temporary bridge on California 246 had a capacity of 38 tons--sufficient for standard highway traffic--according to its builder.
Caltrans officials have said the agency believed the bridge was capable of handling the heavier truck, which was hauling a mammoth excavator, and the permit was proper.
The bridge's manufacturer says such a crossing would have only been safe at 5 mph or less, with the truck the sole vehicle on the bridge, traveling down the center line under close supervision by engineers.