Work underway on Durham's famous 11-foot-8 'can opener' bridge

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A delicate operation is now underway to raise a bridge and make it passable for trucks.

The Gregson Street bridge is nicknamed the 11-foot-8-inch bridge, the "can opener" and the Gregson Street Guillotine because trucks often crash into the lower than average railroad bridge outside downtown Durham.

Workers are now raising it by eight inches to a height of 12 feet 4 inches.

They are using jacks to lift the steel beams that carry the tracks over the street, then sliding new plates between the beams and concrete piers.

Workers are also creating a change in grade along the tracks on both sides of the bridge.

The bridge has been made famous by Jürgen Henn, who set up a camera to record trucks colliding with it.

Henn has recorded more than 145 crashes and shares them on social media.

The City of Durham said the following detours will be in place through Nov. 5.

Southbound Gregson through traffic will be directed to use Morgan Street, Main Street, Buchanan Boulevard and Chapel Hill Street. Brightleaf Square Historic District businesses and parking will remain accessible from Gregson Street for the duration of the construction effort.

To access to the Wexford/Chesterfield Parking Garage on W. Pettigrew St, deck patrons will need to use Chapel Hill St, Duke St, Memorial St, turn right on Gregson St (temporary 2-way for the duration of construction), and turn left at the temporary all-way stop at Pettigrew.
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