Cracked canvas: Beta Bridge smacked by UTS bus

news-betabridgesmack2-mThe smash trimmed the canvas–- but not the enthusiasm–- of the Virginia Dance Company, whose members gathered before 8am Thursday to tout their Sunday night "iDance."

A University Transit Service bus driver who reportedly failed to secure the brakes on the vehicle while attending to some sort of cleaning operation resulted in extensive damage to a sidewall of historic Beta Bridge on Wednesday, October 21. The Bridge, which carries Rugby Road over the CSX railroad tracks, has long served as a canvas for student messages uttered in paint.

Moments after this photo was taken the following morning, a two-bulldozer crew from the Charlottesville Public Works Department arrived to stop traffic and–- with industrial-strength chains–- pull down the damaged section.

A photo and video captured by the Newsplex shows that the bus missed the adjacent fire hydrant (currently wearing a silver coat of paint) by what appears to be just an inch or two. The Newsplex is also the source for the cause of the crash.

Too many layers to count.

According to the unofficial UVA historian Coy Barefoot, Beta Bridge got its first documented freelance paint job in 1926, three years after the steel-reinforced concrete structure was built. The current paint layers–- as revealed in the massive bus-caused crack–- appear at least two inches thick.

Most poignantly, the bridge served as a months-long condolence to Virginia Tech after the 2007 massacre on the Blackburg university's campus.


Kim, it's not about spelling. It's about the lack of ability in MWD (multitasking while driving). I find it extremely hard to eat a Hostess Twinkie, set the Pepsi in a cup holder, change the radio station, scratch whatever might be itching, and hit all the correct keys on a 2" by 1.5" cell phone keyboard while driving home from work...... all at the same time!

You know why I love Virginia blogs? Because people use words like "pontificate" and even spell them correctly. You guys make me proud!

Yes, Dawg. A 45 foot Provost customized motorhome.

My bad! PREVOST (correct spelling)

Have you ever driven a bus, Gasbag? If not, then you don't know what you are talking about, so you can stop pontificating for a minute. Of course the driver is going to be disciplined, and of course the accident was preventable. But accidents do happen. And the pedestrian is partially responsible for the accident because he was too unaware of his surroundings to realize that he was invisible to the driver. There is a reason it's called a "blind spot." I see the same problem on the road--people pay no attention to whether they are traveling in another car's blind spot.

I drove for UTS when I was in college, and they put the drivers through an excellent training program. I use the principles I learned to this day, and in nearly 30 years of driving since then, I have yet to have anything more than a minor fender bender. UTS drivers who are in accidents do face consequences, and no one is going to hold their hand and say that it's not their fault. Accidents are either preventable or nonpreventable, and nearly all fall into the former category. Only if an accident is nonpreventable (typical scenario is the bus sitting still at a light and another vehicle hitting it) is the driver let off without consequences.

You are probably the kind of guy who gets off a bus and then walks in front of it to cross the street, despite all warnings not to do so, then gets hit by an impatient driver (again, probably someone like you) passing the bus while it's stopped. A guy walked in front of my bus once and got hit this way. I'll be he never did it again.

Nice show, Realist! Bravo!

My boss would probably fire me too if I run over a pedestrian. You don't run over a pedestrian whether they are ignoring a "don't walk" signal or not.

Its people like Gasbag that contort facts to the point of misinformation. Get your facts straight and quit using "expressions." How about accurate descriptions instead of sensationalist fabrications?

And who said that the driver was relieved of any liability? The driver probably lost their job in this situation, all because another pedestrian was too impatient to wait for the right of way signal. Granted, the driver should have seen them. I feel bad for this driver because this was, of course, an accident. It just so happens that this accident will most likely result in an honest worker losing his or her job because people like Gasbag promulgate rumors and ignorance.

And trust me on this, being ignorant does not relieve a blogger of any liability, facts or no facts.

"Run over" is just an expression. :)

And trust me on this, being in a vehicles blind spot does not relieve a driver of any liability, charges or no charges.

@Gasbag, FYI, the pedestrian hit the other day was not "run over". From talking to those familiar with UTS, the pedestrian was crossing against traffic (had the red "don't walk" signal) and was in the driver's blind spot. The driver has not been charged, and the pedestrian has a few minor injuries. I don't think UTS is in a rush to put its drivers "at fault", but it's important that both drivers AND pedestrians pay attention on the roadway.

chill out confused. the bridge has been peeled before. no lead based paint to worry your pretty little self over.

I'm glad the driver hit the bridge!

It's much better than running over SOMEBODY like UTS did the other day! :)

Those sawhorses don't look to me like the type a certified lead abatement professional would specify. That is very troubling considering the photo above showing young women of child bearing age only a few steps away from the potentially toxic dust plume. Looks like business as usual after all under the new Sullivan administration, no concern at all for the safety of young women. Shame!

Did anyone think to preserve the paint layers?
What for? Its "Good Ol' Paint" that's why!

Wait, was it Wednesday or Thursday? The day and the date don't match in the story.

To Realist,

You and I both know that only about 20 UTS drivers have more than ONE-thousand hours. And we also both know that very few drivers have "perfect" records, although many people are safe and conscientious, qualities that grow with experience. Admit it, a lot of new and not-new drivers suck. If you don't see that, you might be one of them.

Oh, cool Gasbag. I didn't know you drove your motorhome around for 8 hours a day every weekday for a living, picking up people, most of whom don't appreciate what you do.

Oh wait, that's actual bus drivers-- the VAST majority of whom have spotless safety records to match their thousands of hours behind the wheel.

About that blind spot. There are about four feet at the front of the sides of the bus (right outside the front door, and right outside the driver's window, that are blind spots; behind the bus is also a blind spot; and just beyond the corners of the bus that frame the windshield. So unless the driver reversed into the pedestrian or the pedestrian was the height of a toddler, it is nearly impossible for the pedestrian to have "come out of nowhere" or to have been in a blind spot that was neither visible in a convex mirror nor visible right next to the driver's face. Regardless, the do-not-walk orange hand signal does not shed the blame from the operator of a 13-ton vehicle. Bus driving is an easy job. What is not easy is to find 140 UVA students who are vigilant enough to safely operate buses near pedestrians and bikes. I'm just saying that being in a vehicle made of steel and propelled by internal combustion does not give anyone the right of way to collide with fragile human bodies.