A 10 minute compilation of all crashes uploaded between 2008 and 2016 by 11foot8.com, copyright Jürgen Henn
What is the location of the 11foot8 bridge?
201 Gregson St in Durham, NC (intersection with Peabody St)
Why is the bridge so low?
This train trestle is about 100 years old. At the time when it was built, there were no standards for minimum clearance.
How often do trucks crash into the bridge?
On average, about once a month a truck gets visibly damaged at the bridge. However, every day trucks that trip the overheight warning lights, stop and turn into the side street.
Why don’t they fix it?
Depends on who “they” are and on what “fix” means. The North Carolina Railroad Company owns the train trestle, and their concern is primarily with keeping the trains running and keeping them running safely. So their concern is mainly with reducing the impact of the truck crashes on the actual structure of the train trestle. As far as they are concerned, they solved that problem by installing the crash beam.
The city of Durham has installed “low clearance” signs on each of the 3 blocks leading up to the trestle (Gregson is a one-way road). There is an “overheight when flashing” sign with flashing lights that are triggered by vehicles that are too tall. Several blocks ahead of the trestle the speed limit is 25 MPH. The folks from the city planning department said that they made an effort to prevent accidents.
The North Carolina Dept. of Transportation maintains the road, but not the signage. I suspect they have much bigger problems to deal with statewide than this bridge.
Is the clearance signage accurate?
The clearance signage displays a maximum safe clearance – and yes, in that sense it is accurate. The actual clearance of the crash beam right in front of the trestle is 11 feet 10.8 inches, which gives it a 2.8 inch safety margin. The MUTCD allows for a maximum of 3 inches difference between the signage and the actual clearance.
Would this situation be better if the signage were metric? Well … take a look at his website: 2m40.com
For the convenience of our metric-only audience, here are the measurements we’re talking about in meters:
11foot8 (11 feet 8 inches) = 3.556 meters
11 feet 10.8 inches = 3.627 meters
Safety margin: 7.1 cm (at the crest of the road)