Open Post: Hosted By The Truck Eating Overpass Of Durham, North Carolina

November 8, 2021 / Posted by:

The infamous Norfolk Southern-Gregson Street Overpass in Durham, North Carolina, aka “The 11-foot-8 Bridge,” “The Gregson Street Guillotine”, and/or “The Can Opener”. This overpass was built in the 1940s, with a then-standard clearance of 11 feet and 8 inches. In 1973 they (I don’t know who) raised the minimum standard clearance to 14 feet. But Durham didn’t raise their overpass. Instead, they let it fuck up all the too-tall trucks, RVs, and buses that ignore the signs, warning lights, and bright yellow crash beam. And while the crash beam may protect the structural integrity of the hungry bridge, it doesn’t protect the vehicles that smash into it. Instead, it acts as a kind of a roof-tearing can opener. Mmmm, yummy truck innards, feed overpass noooow!

In 2014 a height-sensitive traffic signal was added. When a too-tall truck approaches, the light turns red, and a sign flashes the message “OVERHEIGHT MUST TURN.” And in 2019 they spent $500,000 to raise the bridge by 8 inches. These changes helped, but, don’t you worry! Our hungry overpass still manages to catch those scrumptious trucks.

You can watch all of the crashes on YouTube thanks to Jürgen Henn, a man who works in a nearby office. Jürgen mounted several video cameras in 2008 and they’ve captured 173 accidents. Here’s a 2018 crash where the truck driver ignored the height-sensitive red light:

Here’s one from last week, where a truck damaged his truck-head (or “faring and stacks,” according to the YouTube description):

Here’s a classic can opener accordion-style roof-ripper from three weeks ago:

Despite the high number of crashes, only three human injuries have ever been reported. So the bridge getting rebuilt is a low-priority concern. When asked for comment, the Norfolk Southern-Gregson Street Overpass said, “Try as you might, you’ll never defeat me. Trucks, RVs, and buses are delicious. Go fuck yourself.” And it’s like… yeah, that’s really rude, but you gotta respect the guy’s stats.

Pics: YouTube

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