AARoads Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes  (Read 36451 times)

US 89

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 4230
  • 189 to Evanston!

  • Location: Salt Lake City/Atlanta
  • Last Login: Today at 06:09:48 PM
    • Utah Highways
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #125 on: January 05, 2020, 02:37:00 AM »

Build higher overpasses!

If that were an option, they would have done it with this most recent project.

hbelkins

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 16494
  • It is well, it is well, with my soul.

  • Age: 59
  • Location: Kentucky
  • Last Login: Today at 08:57:21 PM
    • Millennium Highway
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #126 on: January 05, 2020, 07:08:31 PM »

Has anyone ever done a profile of the guy who maintains this site? He's obviously gotten permission from building owners to place cameras in two different locations to record these instances of driver incompetence/illiteracy.
Logged


I identify as vaccinated.

NJRoadfan

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1596
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Last Login: Today at 05:10:59 PM
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #127 on: January 05, 2020, 07:38:29 PM »

These people are really trying. Despite having a red light and the overheight sign flashing, they STILL drove under the bridge! Maybe some strobes need to be added to make it even more obvious one has to turn. Locally we have a 11 foot 9 in. bridge next to an industrial area with a ton of truck traffic and its rare to have one of these can opener incidents.
Logged

1995hoo

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 13298
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Fairfax County, Virginia
  • Last Login: Today at 05:57:22 PM
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #128 on: January 05, 2020, 08:26:06 PM »

Has anyone ever done a profile of the guy who maintains this site? He's obviously gotten permission from building owners to place cameras in two different locations to record these instances of driver incompetence/illiteracy.

He works for Duke University and his office is in the building on the right side of that intersection as you face the bridge from where the cameras are.
Logged
"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

MNHighwayMan

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 4320
  • Blue and gold forever!

  • Age: 29
  • Location: Des Moines
  • Last Login: February 17, 2020, 10:23:20 PM
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #129 on: January 07, 2020, 02:47:06 PM »

Has anyone ever done a profile of the guy who maintains this site? He's obviously gotten permission from building owners to place cameras in two different locations to record these instances of driver incompetence/illiteracy.

You know, you could just go to his website.
Logged

hbelkins

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 16494
  • It is well, it is well, with my soul.

  • Age: 59
  • Location: Kentucky
  • Last Login: Today at 08:57:21 PM
    • Millennium Highway
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #130 on: January 07, 2020, 03:49:15 PM »

Has anyone ever done a profile of the guy who maintains this site? He's obviously gotten permission from building owners to place cameras in two different locations to record these instances of driver incompetence/illiteracy.

You know, you could just go to his website.

And find out ... nothing, except the guy's name. Lots of stories about the bridge itself, several with broken links, and the only thing that looks like it might have some detailed information (a WSJ story) is paywalled. And the FAQ at the site is about the bridge itself, not the video endeavor.
Logged


I identify as vaccinated.

1995hoo

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 13298
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Fairfax County, Virginia
  • Last Login: Today at 05:57:22 PM
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #131 on: October 13, 2020, 10:26:09 PM »

Here’s the most recent video proving the bridge is still in action. Not as frequently as it used to be, but it’s still unforgiving.

Logged
"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

kkt

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 5588
  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Last Login: September 15, 2021, 05:03:05 PM
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #132 on: October 14, 2020, 12:52:27 AM »

Can't believe they spent real money to raise the bridge when they couldn't raise it enough to fix the problem.
I see the "too tall" light did come on but not very long before the truck hit the bridge.

Maybe it should be a stop sign that requires all vehicles to stop and only proceed one vehicle at a time when the light turns green.

Logged

Dirt Roads

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1002
  • Location: Central North Carolina
  • Last Login: Today at 05:51:50 PM
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #133 on: October 14, 2020, 10:23:02 AM »

Can't believe they spent real money to raise the bridge when they couldn't raise it enough to fix the problem.

When I worked on the Triangle Transit project (2003-06), we were proposing to install an additional two-track bridge over Gregson Street.  Since the street slopes uphill leaving this part of downtown (southbound), the clearance issue could have been worse than the existing bridge.  I wasn't privy to the conversations, but there were a number of discussions about raising the existing tracks through downtown to improve the clearances.  In actuality, the issues at Gregson Street are relative minor compared to similar issues over the major thoroughfares Chapel Hill Street and South Roxboro Street (Bus US-15/501 NB) to the east of here.

Amazingly, locals were perplexed as to why the transit system couldn't fix their existing problems. 

Fun fact:  The bridge over Gregson Street is owned by the North Carolina Rail Road (which leases the tracks to Norfolk Southern).  All of the tracks through downtown are operated by NS, but back in the Triangle Transit days some of these overpasses were bridges owned by CSX Transportation (whose operating tracks are all east of downtown).  I'm not sure, but some may have also been owned by Norfolk Southern themselves.  Any discussions to raise tracks through downtown were much compounded by this fact.  I'm not sure, but I recall that all of these bridges are now owned by NCRR (which, like the old RF&P is a privately company whose shares are 100% owned by the State).
Logged

goobnav

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 298
  • Cannonball Run should start in Wilmington!

  • Age: 46
  • Location: Durham, NC
  • Last Login: November 02, 2020, 09:17:44 AM
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #134 on: October 14, 2020, 10:24:40 AM »

Can't believe they spent real money to raise the bridge when they couldn't raise it enough to fix the problem.
I see the "too tall" light did come on but not very long before the truck hit the bridge.

Maybe it should be a stop sign that requires all vehicles to stop and only proceed one vehicle at a time when the light turns green.



The bridge is for and extremely active rail line and in Downtown Durham, just tearing out the bridge and rebuilding the road and the bridge is not as cost effective as having the warning system and ample, I live in Durham BTW, signage in the area warning of the bridge height is more cost effective.

Nevermind, that there are alternative routes in very close proximity that are higher or no bridge at all.  So that's another strike against a complete rebuild.
Logged
Life is a highway and I drive it all night long!

1995hoo

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 13298
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Fairfax County, Virginia
  • Last Login: Today at 05:57:22 PM
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #135 on: October 14, 2020, 10:36:33 AM »

BTW, in that most recent video, watch the truck driver's reaction just after the 40-second mark. Good stuff.
Logged
"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

froggie

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 11907
  • Location: Greensboro, VT
  • Last Login: Today at 11:20:54 AM
    • Froggie's Place
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #136 on: October 14, 2020, 11:26:34 AM »

Can't believe they spent real money to raise the bridge when they couldn't raise it enough to fix the problem.
I see the "too tall" light did come on but not very long before the truck hit the bridge.

The issue with raising it much higher is you have the at-grade Duke St rail crossing only 400ft to the east.  Any significant increase in the height of the bridge at Gregson St would negatively impact the Duke St crossing.

The project last year was able to raise it 8 inches...that's about as much as you're going to get without a massive changing of the entire road network in that area.
Logged

Dirt Roads

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1002
  • Location: Central North Carolina
  • Last Login: Today at 05:51:50 PM
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #137 on: October 14, 2020, 04:52:19 PM »

The project last year was able to raise it 8 inches...that's about as much as you're going to get without a massive changing of the entire road network in that area.

Just to be clear, last year's project raised the clearance.  NS used thinner steel for the stringers (and I highly suspect that they were also able to raise the base of the bridge by taking advantage of the fact that "mainline" track has been raised as much as two feet over the past three decades with additional ballast - ergo, heavy gravel).  IIRC, the project was supposed to raise the clearance by 12 inches (and it was posted lower).  Note that this is "mainline" for the NCRR and "branchline" for NS, but it is all rebuilt to mainline standards.

Can't believe they spent real money to raise the bridge when they couldn't raise it enough to fix the problem.
I see the "too tall" light did come on but not very long before the truck hit the bridge.

The issue with raising it much higher is you have the at-grade Duke St rail crossing only 400ft to the east.  Any significant increase in the height of the bridge at Gregson St would negatively impact the Duke St crossing.

The project last year was able to raise it 8 inches...that's about as much as you're going to get without a massive changing of the entire road network in that area.

The impact on one adjacent grade crossing is minimal.  It's the entire lineup of crossings and bridges to the east that make it complicated.  Furthermore, the Amtrak station is just east of Duke Street.  I will admit that the downhill roadway grade on Duke Street (which is one way northbound towards the crossing) complicates things in a different dimension.  When trying to add the Triangle Transit route through this crossing, we separated the proposed tracks on different elevations and modified the superelevation to tie-in the approach on Duke Street.  The same issue would arise on the freight side if the crossing elevation were raised heading into downtown.
Logged

architect77

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 402
  • Location: Atlanta
  • Last Login: September 15, 2021, 07:29:32 PM
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #138 on: October 14, 2020, 04:56:53 PM »

The project last year was able to raise it 8 inches...that's about as much as you're going to get without a massive changing of the entire road network in that area.

And digging the roadway further down isn't an option because of some pipes or water/ sewer lines? Could these obstacles be relocated without it being a major undertaking?
Just to be clear, last year's project raised the clearance.  NS used thinner steel for the stringers (and I highly suspect that they were also able to raise the base of the bridge by taking advantage of the fact that "mainline" track has been raised as much as two feet over the past three decades with additional ballast - ergo, heavy gravel).  IIRC, the project was supposed to raise the clearance by 12 inches (and it was posted lower).  Note that this is "mainline" for the NCRR and "branchline" for NS, but it is all rebuilt to mainline standards.

Can't believe they spent real money to raise the bridge when they couldn't raise it enough to fix the problem.
I see the "too tall" light did come on but not very long before the truck hit the bridge.

The issue with raising it much higher is you have the at-grade Duke St rail crossing only 400ft to the east.  Any significant increase in the height of the bridge at Gregson St would negatively impact the Duke St crossing.

The project last year was able to raise it 8 inches...that's about as much as you're going to get without a massive changing of the entire road network in that area.

The impact on one adjacent grade crossing is minimal.  It's the entire lineup of crossings and bridges to the east that make it complicated.  Furthermore, the Amtrak station is just east of Duke Street.  I will admit that the downhill roadway grade on Duke Street (which is one way northbound towards the crossing) complicates things in a different dimension.  When trying to add the Triangle Transit route through this crossing, we separated the proposed tracks on different elevations and modified the superelevation to tie-in the approach on Duke Street.  The same issue would arise on the freight side if the crossing elevation were raised heading into downtown.

Logged

bwana39

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 829
  • Location: Near Texarkana TX
  • Last Login: Today at 08:37:34 PM
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #139 on: October 14, 2020, 06:11:24 PM »

Railroad bridges are a real problem.  The first railroad overpasses were built back before WW2 using tax incentives, CCC funds, or other tools for economic development. In some cases it was pressure from the cities by way of creating ordinances about train length, street blockage times, and even noise.  The railroads have closed most of the local ordinance loopholes. Public funds are rarely if ever being spent on the railroads.

Many of these bridges are still in place.  There is zero incentive for the railroads to do anything. The city, county, or state highway departments  can force them to do nothing.  Even if the governmental agency decides to bypass it at their expense, they would have to close, depending on the situation, the bridge being bypassed plus one (additional) grade crossing or If they left it open and rerouted the road across a new alignment, they would probably want to close two grade crossings. Why? They control (own) the vertical area over the trackbed.  They use this to their advantage.

When we deregulated the railroads, we created a huge need for highways. Trucks shipments replaced rail shipments.  Anyone who thinks the railroad is corporate and the freeway is for private use, doesn't look at the traffic. More of the traffic on rural highways and freeways is commercial, heavy trucks, company pickups, company cars.  I can assure you the percentage of the taxes we spend on highways and freeways for the benefit of corporations and other businesses far outweigh those spent for personal vehicles, even if we consider the car traffic in the cities.



« Last Edit: October 21, 2020, 08:58:52 AM by bwana39 »
Logged
Let's build what we need as economically as possible.

Dirt Roads

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1002
  • Location: Central North Carolina
  • Last Login: Today at 05:51:50 PM
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #140 on: October 14, 2020, 07:57:56 PM »

Railroad bridges are a real problem.  The first railroad overpasses were built back before WW2 using tax incentives, CCC funds, or other tools for economic development. In some cases it was pressure from the cities by way of creating ordinances about train length, street blockage times, and even noise.  The railroads have closed most of the local ordinance loopholes. Public funds are rarely if ever being spent on the railroads.

Many of these bridges are still in place.  There is zero incentive for the railroads to do anything. The city, county, or state highway departments  can force them to do nothing.  Even if the governmental agency decides to bypass it at their expense, they would have to close, depending on the situation, the bridge being bypassed plus one (additional) grade crossing or If they left it open and rerouted the road across a new alignment, they would probably want to close two grade crossings. Why? They control (own) the vertical area over the trackbed.  They use this to their advantage.

When we deregulated the railroads, we created a huge need for highways. Trucks shipments replaced rail shipments.  Anyone who thinks the railroad is private and the freeway is for private use, doesn't look at the traffic. More of the traffic on rural highways and freeways is commercial, heavy trucks, company pickups, company cars.  I can assure you the percentage of the taxes we spend on highways and freeways for the benefit of corporations and other businesses far outweigh those spent for personal vehicles, even if we consider the car traffic in the cities.

Historically, North Carolina was aggressive in the 1940s and 1950s in constructing grade separations.  From what I can tell, pretty much all of the major routes of the this timeframe got reworked with (mostly) underpasses.  Unfortunately, underpasses are difficult to reconstruct.  By the late 1950s, these underpasses were already too narrow with horribly low clearances.  Truck traffic picked out alternative routes over grade crossings (officially they are "highway crossings at grade"), which did get upgraded quickly.  (There are a only a few such underpasses next to creeks that have adequate clearances for today).  By the early 1990s, NCRR took issue with the widening of existing grade crossings (thereby exposing more vehicles to rail traffic).  The NCDOT Rail Division works with communities to try to develop long-term plans for grade separations (and crossing closures).  But Durham is a particularly difficult issue for so many reasons.

By the way, it is the responsibility of the various Highway Departments to pay for improvements.  But most Class I railroads offer huge incentives (along with pro bono planning efforts) in order to help expedite this effort.  North Carolina is lucky that most of the development is parallel to the railroads.  Many states have mostly developed perpendicular to the railroads, which results in too many communities fighting for (or against) their grade separation projects. 
Logged

architect77

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 402
  • Location: Atlanta
  • Last Login: September 15, 2021, 07:29:32 PM
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #141 on: October 14, 2020, 11:50:28 PM »

I saw a 60 Minutes story a while back that said that train conductors has to completely stop, get off the train and manually change the track direction at forks around the Southeast. They said no one can be sure if the switches successfully did their job. That’s pretty scary and impedes faster speeds. Please explain if this is true. Thx
Logged

Dirt Roads

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1002
  • Location: Central North Carolina
  • Last Login: Today at 05:51:50 PM
Re: North Carolina's Famed Truck-Scalping Bridge Nears 100 Recorded Crashes
« Reply #142 on: October 15, 2020, 10:05:25 AM »

I saw a 60 Minutes story a while back that said that train conductors has to completely stop, get off the train and manually change the track direction at forks around the Southeast. They said no one can be sure if the switches successfully did their job. That’s pretty scary and impedes faster speeds. Please explain if this is true. Thx

Sent an answer over into Forum>Non-road Boards>Rail Transit.
Logged

 


Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.