Durham's 11-foot-8 'can opener' bridge to be raised this week

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The 11-foot-8-inch bridge in Durham, also known as the "can opener," will be raised this week in hopes of limiting accidents.

The North Carolina Railroad Overpass at Gregson Street in Durham will be closed to traffic from Oct. 23 to Nov. 5 while it is raised.

The bridge is well known in the region and nationally because, despite numerous signs warning drivers how low the bridge is, tall vehicles routinely hit it.

It's happened so many times that there's a website dedicated to showing the crashes.

Jurgen Henn founded the website and said he's captured more than 140 wrecks on camera since 2008.

"I think it's a good thing. I think it'll improve safety around here. I hope it'll reduce the number of crashes. I'm not worried about the entertainment value really because ultimately this is more about raising awareness," said Henn.

The bridge will be raised from 11-feet-8-inches to 12-feet-4 inches to improve safety and reduce infrastructure damage from vehicle strikes, the North Carolina Railroad Company said in a tweet.

RELATED: Truck badly damaged in crash with Durham bridge

The total project costs $500,000.


Southbound Gregson though traffic will be directed to use Morgan Street, Main Street, Buchanan Blvd. 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 Street, deck patrons will need to use Chapel Hill Street, Duke Street, Memorial St, turn right on Gregson Street (temporary 2-way for the duration of construction), and turn left at the temporary all way stop at Pettigrew.

Driver and emergency vehicles will able to drive along the gravel portion of Pettigrew Street (between Duke and Gregson) as an alternate route to the deck. Please allow extra time to access the Wexford/Chesterfield Garage and be alert for pedestrians along the detour route.
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