Monday, March 26, 2018

An infamous low bridge adds to its victims

A low bridge in Durham, North Carolina, is famous for the vehicles that have run into it.

The 78-year old bridge that runs along South Gregson Street has a clearance of only 11 feet 8 inches. It has become known across the internet as “The Can-Opener Bridge” because of the astounding number of overconfident truck drivers who think they can squeeze their vehicle under it. Recently, the bridge claimed its 130th victim: an Army LMTV.

Local truck drivers know to avoid the overpass, so nearly every vehicle that gets clipped is either a rental or from out-of-state. The costs of raising the railroad tracks would be astronomical and the city’s main sewer line runs underneath, meaning lowering the road is impossible.

Thankfully, to date, there have been no fatalities and only three minor injuries. The city of Durham is content to plaster the area with a ridiculous amount of warnings to drivers, including a traffic light and gigantic, flashing sign that triggers if a height sensor is tripped. But all of these cautions don’t deter idiots drivers who aren’t willing to take a short detour.

To be completely honest, I don’t think they even want to fix it because it’s too funny.

There's more at the link.

Here's the latest casualty, an Army truck with its elevated weapon mount.

And, in case you missed it, here's a compilation of some of the earlier crashes involving the bridge.

I'm surprised insurers don't add a rider to their policies stating that, if you hit the bridge with a tall vehicle, you're on your own!



Borepatch said...

It's something to watch folks drive their RVs under that thing and clip their A/C units right off. D'OH!

Unknown said...

Every single rental box-body I've ever driven - and, over the years, I've driven a bunch of 'em, all makes and companies - has had the overhead clearance-height PROMINENTLY marked, in SEVERAL locations on the truck, generally-external, but ALSO inside the cab, AND on the rental-agreement documentation as well in many cases (if not all...).

The height of 11'-8" is NOT immoderately-low, but many/most rental vans have either 12' or 12'-6" max. height CLEARLY MARKED - and the user has full responsibility for controlling the vehicle, including reading warnings like those plastered all over that low-clearance railway bridge (not to mention the flashing lights and the large warning signs, etc...)

"You Break It, You Pay", folks...

TheOtherSean said...

I think my favorite was watching one hay truck drive under and have a bunch of bales going flying off the top - and have a second one follow it ten seconds later and lose more.

Anonymous said...

Penske seems to feature prominently in the numbers hitting the bridge. You'd think that they would have impressed on their renters that 12 foot won't go into 11 foot eight. Well, technically it will but if the integer is less than 1 then you have an (expensive) problem.

Having the franchise to sweep up the scrap at the junction would be quite lucrative, I should imagine! >};o)

Phil B

Donald Stephens said...

I suspect this was a National Guard exercise. The guy driving the truck would be from out of town, so a loud bong resulted.

Anonymous said...

GPS units specifically designed for - and used by - truckers will have critical route info, and assuming the driver enters specific vehicle data, will route around such obstacles.

Standard GPSes, not so much.....

I realize the renter has to pay for th edamages, but I'd think the truck rental outfits - in partnership with local companies that use trucks - would find it advantageous to equip the bridge with an IR transmitter that triggers an in-cab warning system about such obstructions.

But then where would we get videos like this?

urbane legend said...

If you hit a clearly marked overpass, and this is, you should immediately lose your license. I would say permanently, but at least for a year.

Do the families and friends of these drivers still ride with them?

Mike_C said...

The underpasses on Storrow Drive in Boston are also unusually low. In late August or early September (college move-in days) it's not uncommon to see a rental truck with its top peeled back like a can of kippered herring.

RobC said...

I mean... they have a sensor that gauges your oncoming rig with warning lights, screens and horns... WTF are the blind and deaf? ;-)