Truck stuck under bridge blocks roadway

The low clearance bridge on Roxboro at Pettigrew streets in Durham claimed another victim around midnight Wednesday.
February 19, 2013 9:00:00 PM PST
A street in downtown Durham was blocked for several hours after a truck got stuck under a bridge Wednesday.

The low clearance bridge on Roxboro at Pettigrew Streets claimed another victim around midnight Wednesday.

The bridge, built by Southern Railways back when trucks were smaller, is no stranger to incidents like this.

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This is the second time in two weeks a truck has found itself wedged under the bridge. It's also the fourth incident in as many months.

The Gregson Street Bridge, also in Durham, has also seen its fair share of these accidents with 32 in the past five years.

The Roxboro Street Bridge is low at 11-feet-4-inches and the other is 11-feet-8-inches, but both locations are clearly marked with plenty of signs warning drivers. Still incidents like this happen often.

"If they've rented a box truck or something like that to move, they may not be as conscious of their vertical height as a professional truck driver is, so typically you see more of the non-professionals then the professionals," NC DOT engineer Wally Bowman said.

There were not any injuries Wednesday, and the bridge didn't suffer any damage, but the same can't be said for the truck. Durham police haven't released the name of the driver in Wednesday's accident, but he was a commercial driver.

Bowman speculates that driver distraction could be to blame, but said something else needs to be done to warn drivers.

"We're looking at potential audible devices, whether that be chains hanging from a bar that you would hit that chain before you hit the bridge or maybe some type of signal with a horn or something, and this would be back in advance to give them time to slow down," Bowman said.

The DOT said they would cover all of the costs associated with making improvements to the bridge. They added that they could see if the City of Durham or the railroad company would be willing to help.

The truck was owned by Celadon Trucking from Indianapolis, Ind.

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