Truck-eating bridge claims a new victim


If I was driving along and saw a flashing sign saying “Overheight must turn” I’d probably think “that’s good to know” and go straight without hesitation. If the sign said “YOU are overheight and must turn left” I’d probably pay attention.



Damn, another one? That bridge sure is hungry.



I have seen height warnings on vehicle sun visors. When checking out RV models, the height issue made me nervous enough to wish there was a way to eliminate low clearance areas in my GPS.



It’s obvious that the drivers that hit this are in rental trucks and don’t remember they’re driving a tall vehicle. No solution that says “no trucks” on the label will solve the problem, because these drivers have already forgotten that fact.

So the answer has to lie in the physical. It has to be a very rapid deployment, because there’s not much distance between the traffic light and the bridge. That removes most physically motor operated devices like dropping flags, crossing gate arms, or the cool water-stop someone mentioned is in Australia.

Lowering the road by enough to provide clearance for the average rental truck may not be practical - the lower the road, the more the low point would collect rainwater. Raising the rail grade would be prohibitively expensive, as would re-routing the train.

A tell-tale (hanging chains, a tube supported at the right height, etc.) might reduce the number of incidents but probably won’t eliminate enough of them.

They might be able to supplement the tell-tales with flashing high intensity lamps, mounted under the bridge deck, that shine directly into the oncoming driver’s faces. Strobing red/blue lamps that make drivers panic that they’re about to be pulled over by police might be effective. Accompanying the flashing lights with a very loud, directional horn (think LRAD) would probably work better, but would drive the neighborhood insane.

Finally, they probably have no budget for improvements. They also have no incentive to spend the money, as the expenses are all borne by the truck drivers (no doubt plenty of out-of-state college students are among the drivers who strike the bridge.) So, the practical answer is probably “nothing at all”.



Absolutely one of my most favorites running posts



I like the water curtain stop signs

You beat me to it. I was going to mention this from last year:



ha - ha but you should embarrass them for a start



combined solution: anyone who runs into the bridge is required to direct tall traffic away from the bridge for a minimum of three months.



The only way I can see would be a bar and/or chains right at the intersection, but that only adds about 8-10 feet before they hit the bridge. Perhaps a series of chains would make enough of a racket to at least get people to slow enough that they don’t cause as much damage.



Build a very dark curvy tunnel ahead of the bridge. Sensors detect trucks 11’8" and above and show you your image in a mirror of a ghost sitting next to you holding a sign saying “your truck is too high”. I can’t see anything that could go wrong.



You’d have to have the knockers on the three approach blocks, not just before the bridge. They could be pretty close on Pettigrew but would have to be at least a block out on Gregson.



I was going to suggest lowering the bridge but your idea is better.



It never says how many million anywhere. you probably have to raise several hundred feet of track in either direction or more the waterline. but in the long run i bet it’s cheaper than crashing trucks into walls every couple of weeks.



Miles of track and rebuild multiple bridges which the railroad is not going to do. See the FAQ linked to above.



Or the solution used in parking garages: a bar (or a series of weights strung out in a line), at the maximum height, ahead of the entrance itself.

Also: instead of the current OVERHEIGHT MUST TURN warning-- why not just put a traffic light? If it’s overheight, the light turns red (forever).

Huh? You mount it on the corner, 60 feet ahead of the bridge its about to hit. And, again, unlike the bridge itself, this does not damage the vehicle.



Which will damage all the delivery trucks that deliver to the businesses on the block before the bridge.



There already is a traffic light, which is tied to the overheight sensors that activate the “MUST TURN” warning sign. According to the FAQ on the site, if an overheight truck approaches the intersection, it triggers a red light. The driver has to see the “MUST TURN” sign blinking at them when the light turns green because it’s literally right next to it.

The light can’t remain red permanently, however, because the truck in question may not be the first vehicle in line for the light, and requiring a large truck to turn against the light while cross traffic is flowing is a recipe for a collision or traffic backup (or both).



That’s not a giant sign, this is a giant sign:

As you can see, it was ineffective here too.



The only shortcoming of the current warning system is that it doesn’t say on the big LED sign:

driver’s_name IS AN IDIOT!”



Because it’s all about you! :grinning: Seriously, though, there’s a reason signs are concise. “What’s that sign say? 'You are overheight and must turCRASH”

Signs (at least normal road signs, no matter how obvious) are not the answer. Something that forces the truck to stop without damaging it is the answer. Or, you know, drivers that aren’t dumb. That could also work. But what are the chances of that happening?