Commuters in Houston are almost getting used to seeing giant industrial spools rolling down their highways. The most recent incident brings the total number of enormous spools coming off trucks in the Houston area up to 5 in less than 2 months.
On October 25, drivers were able to swerve out of the way of a runaway spool on I-10 and Wayside. November 12th brought two spools onto the road at almost exactly the same spot. On December 7th, 610 joined in with its own spool. And finally on December 13th, the North Beltway near West Little York saw the last spool (for now).
According to Sgt. Chapel Love with the Houston Police Department’s Truck Enforcement Unit, the issue is improperly secured loads.
“They’re supposed to secure them by bracing,” said Sgt. Love. “They’re supposed to cradle the actual spool itself so that, during the course of its transport, it’s not rocking back and forth and creating a situation where the straps or chains loosen, and the load becomes compromised once that happens.”
As a result of the incidents, HPD is stepping up enforcement. Officers are pulling over trucks with oversized loads to check to make sure they’ve been permitted properly and have properly secured their loads. They’re also measuring the height of loads to make sure they meet clearance requirements for area bridges.
But it doesn’t just stop with the inspection. If a truck is found to be in violation, HPD plans to issue a “compliance review” for the whole company.
“What that does is, it notifies DPS that we have a company that’s doing things not in accordance with the way that they should,” said Sgt. Love. “And then they in turn will go out and do an internal audit and they will dig a lot deeper than we can.”
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