The notorious can-opener bridge teaches truck driver a lesson

Originally published at:


Is there already a thread established related to why this bridge has not been / cannot be re-designed? I thought there was but cannot find it.

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It was the Miller Lite driver’s lucky day.

From this article:

With all this happening, why not just raise the bridge? Well, the city of Durham can’t. If they raised the 76-year-old bridge, the city would also have to raise surrounding railroad crossings.

What about lowering the street itself? That’s can’t happen either. A major sewer line in the city runs just four feet below Gregson Street.

The second could probably happen at great expense and effort. However, from the peeling paint on the crash beam that creates a “dazzle camouflage” effect, it looks like the city everyone has just given up.


Yeah, it looked like he was prepared to follow the other guy right under the bridge.

I hope the guy in the rental got the extra insurance.


Narrowly avoided opening a can of Miller Lite.


OK, this may have been discussed in an earlier thread, and it may just reveal my stunning ignorance of infrastructure design, but the more I look at this the more I wonder "can’t the city just hang a length of iron pipe from the traffic light using some very noisy chains …It seems to me that the noise and and the very mild damage to any truck that hits it would save the much bigger problem of hitting the bridge.


It’s a good idea, but clueless truck drivers like these would likely be startled by the chains and brake hard and suddenly while passing under the green light, causing rear-end collisions with the cars behind them. So maybe the decision was that if there’s damage occurring at this crossing it should be limited to the roof of the truck.


What struck me was the car that zipped around the truck, despite having a red light. Don’t the locals know they’re on camera?


Sometimes you have to think outside the box; along the lines of the above, what if they lowered the maximum height to something so clearly lower than the height of the usual truck that no one could make that mistake. For instance, put a steel beam across the pillars, and change the max height sign to 9 feet. (Of course that would assume that the goal of the authorities is to minimize accidents, which it may not be.)

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I know in my city / state…railroad crossings (over / under / at grade) is 100% controlled by the railroad which is a federal issue. And they will absolutely do as little as they can to change anything that costs them money. Even if offered money to do it – because it may force them into addressing other issues and they worry they will be on the hook for those if they give in to these.

So they will only do ANYTHING if the line is in need of being replaced because then the local gov’ts can actually make demands.

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The Long Eared Donkey
A farmer kept a donkey in a stable, but the donkey’s ears were so long that they repeatedly hit the top of the door, causing the animal to kick out dangerously. So the farmer decided to raise the height of the door frame.
He spent all day toiling away with his hacksaw. Seeing that he was struggling to complete the task, his neighbour suggested: “Instead of lifting the door frame, wouldn’t it be easier if you simply dug out the ground in the doorway and made it deeper?”
“Don’t be an idiot,” said the farmer. “It’s the donkey’s ears that are too long, not his legs!”


They have to allow at least enough clearance for a city bus, which is going to be ~11’.




How about something like this?


This is easily the least violent crash footage I’ve seen of this bridge so far. Usually trucks just plow right into it rather than just tapping it a little.


9 feet you say?

(Image credit: Ely Standard)


That, or he thought that they needed beer for the festivities at the bridge.


LOL. I guess some people just can’t be reached…

City buses in Durham have a clearance height of 11’ 6".


For all your “raise the tracks”, “lower the road”, “Reduce the bridge clearance”, “Water curtain” needs, see these threads.

… and so on.