Update: Officials says ‘language barrier’ may have caused trucker to drive over wooden bridge

An Arkansas official has suggested that a truck driver’s language barrier may have been the reason that he did not heed signs that warned him off of a 6 ton wooden bridge that he ultimately caused to collapse. The bridge collapse happened around 8 p.m. on Wednesday, January 30, in Yell County, Arkansas. Officials say that a truck driver en route to Danville with a load of chicken followed his GPS to the Dale Bend Bridge, which was marked with signs forbidding trucks heavier than 6 tons. The bridge collapsed, sending the truck down into the Petit Jean River.

The truck driver, who works for California-based trucking company US Citylink Inc., was able to escape from the partially submerged vehicle and was not injured. As the investigation into the incident continued into Thursday, January 31, Yell County Office of Emergency Management director Jeff Gilkey told 5 News Online that he believed that a language barrier may have have been the reason that the truck driver did not understand or obey the weight limit sign.

“He was about 64,000 pounds over the weight limit,” Gilkey stated. Removing the truck has proven to be a complicated process. Gilkey says that it will probably take at least a 100-ton crane to remove the truck from the river. Officials say that it could take up to a year to replace the Dale Bend Bridge, which was built in 1930.

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