Structural Failure Ruled Out in Bay Bridge Plunge

4:01 PM, Jul 23, 2013   |    comments
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SANDY POINT, Md. (WUSA) -- Structural failure has been ruled out as a factor in an accident Friday that caused a car to plunge off of the Bay Bridge, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority.

The car with driver inside dropped 40-feet into the Chesapeake Bay after it was  pushed over the concrete barrier in a collision with a tractor-trailer Friday. 

"The barriers on the bridge are safe.  There is no structural damage," said Bruce Gartner, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Maryland Transportation Authority.

The barriers were re-enforced after a 2008 accident where a tractor trailer burst through a concrete wall and plunged into the water killing the driver.

However, the barriers were not made higher in the wake of that incident.

Mid-Atlantic AAA spokesman Lon Anderson is now questioning whether the barriers should be taller and is calling on the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate.

Anderson said the survival of the driver in Friday's 40-foot plunge from the bridge to the water was miraculous.

After the 2008 incident, the NTSB recommended new bridge inspection techniques, which Maryland developed to ensure barrier strength and safety.  

Gartner says the MdTA will cooperate with any investigation but that it is too soon to say if making the barriers higher is a potential solution.

Meanwhile, the driver of the truck in Friday's incident has been identified as Gabor Lobasz of Charlottetown, Canada, according to MdTA police.  He was driving a refrigerated tractor trailer rig operated by Bulk Carriers of Prince Edward Island, Canada.  The truck was running empty from Grance, VA to Rosedale, Md.   No charges have been filed and the investigation into the incident is not expected to be completed for weeks.


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