For the most part, our transportation infrastructure has been designed to account for large vehicles on the road. Lanes are wide enough, onramps are long enough and, perhaps most importantly, bridges are high enough to allow passage underneath.
But, at only 11-feet, 8-inches high, a rail bridge in Durham, North Carolina has been rammed into by so many trucks that the railroad company had to specifically install a crash beam made out of reinforced steel simply to stop the tracks from being damaged so much. And the crash beam has already had to be replaced.
The bridge decapitates so many trucks, in fact, that an entire website has been dedicated to it, complete with videos, t-shirts and an interesting history of the bridge.
According to 11foot8 Videos, a site run by Jürgen Henn, a truck is visibly damaged by the low-clearance bridge about once a month. The bridge is over 100 years old, meaning that it was built at a time when there were no requirements for minimum clearance because there were no large trucks driving underneath.
Even though there are numerous warning lights and signs, trucks still slam into the bridge an incredible amount due to inexperienced drivers in rental trucks or professionals simply being distracted.
It appears that the problem won't be going away anytime soon, either, as both raising the bridge and lowering the road are out of the question, according to the site, due to the scale of the project and the amount that it would cost.
The crash bar has gone a long ways in preventing damage to the railroad tracks, but the damage to the trucks can be pretty bad. Unfortuantely for the drivers, most insurance plans involving trucks specifically exclude overhead damage from coverage.
The video above shows just the most recent crash. Head over to 11foot8.com or check out this YouTube channel for even more.
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