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B.C. trucking company involved in multiple highway overpass strikes denies safety concerns

Click to play video: 'B.C. trucking company defends itself against safety allegations'
B.C. trucking company defends itself against safety allegations
WATCH: A B.C. trucking company is defending itself against safety allegations, after government figures show it's been involved in one-third of collisions involving overpasses. Janet Brown reports. – May 2, 2023

A B.C. trucking company that has been involved in one-third of collisions involving highway overpasses in the past few years is defending itself against questions of safety.

Between December 2021 and March 2023, there were 15 overpasses hit in the Lower Mainland, including one in Abbotsford on Monday.

Monday’s incident is still under investigation, and at this point, there’s no word on who was responsible.

However, Chohan Carriers drivers are responsible for hitting five overpasses and have received five carrier suspensions between December 2021 and June 2022, according to information on the B.C. government’s website.

Employees at the company declined to talk to Global News on Tuesday and said no one was available for an interview.

However, in an email statement, the company said: “Unfortunately, we don’t have any further comment other than that we are in compliance with CVSE. At this point in time, the owner and senior management are not available at the office as they are out of town.

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“We would like to state that it is our perspective that we are being linked into an incident that does not involve us. We have been cleared by CVSE.”

The CVSE is the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement Office of the B.C. government.

Click to play video: 'Traffic gridlock after truck strikes Highway 1 overpass in Abbotsford'
Traffic gridlock after truck strikes Highway 1 overpass in Abbotsford

According to the B.C. government website, Chohan Freight Forwarders Ltd. was responsible for bridge strikes on Dec. 10, 2021, at the 192nd Street Highway 1 overpass; on Feb. 12, 2022, at the 264th Street Highway 1 overpass; on Feb. 17, 2022, at the 112th Street Highway 1 overpass; on June 1, 2022, at the No. 3 Road Highway 1 overpass; and on June 8, 2022, at the 264th Street Highway 1 overpass.

Click to play video: 'More calls for tougher penalties for truckers who damage infrastructure'
More calls for tougher penalties for truckers who damage infrastructure

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said Tuesday that his ministry is very concerned about protecting the integrity of the province’s highways and overpasses.

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“The vast majority of commercial truckers drive our routes safely, with a plan in mind, knowing the height clearances on all major routes, securely tying the loads down and complying with all the conditions of permit,” he said. “What we’re dealing with is a few outliers.”

Fleming said the ministry now posts all of the bridge strike data on its website, as a form of “naming and shaming” and it is stepping up enforcement for those who have hit overpasses multiple times.

The government might restrict a company’s ability to haul oversize loads until the company comes up with an action plan that demonstrates it is able to haul those loads again, Fleming explained.

He added the ministry is also looking at other measures of enforcement such as enhanced fines.

“There was one company that had struck our infrastructure, I believe, five times. For three weeks they were out of business on our road networks,” Fleming said.

He did not confirm if Chohan is the company he was talking about, but it is the only company listed five times on the government website.

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