New system reduces crashes with Durham's infamous 11-foot-8 bridge

Posted October 24, 2017 4:22 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 1:40 p.m. EDT

— Has technology finally tamed the famous truck-eating bridge in downtown Durham?

Last spring, traffic engineers installed a new system to reduce collisions between tall trucks and the 11-foot, 8-inch bridge near Brightleaf Square. If a truck is too tall, the new system triggers a laser that sends a message to a signal, giving drivers one last chance to turn around.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation says it is working.

Jurgen Henn, who works in the nearby Brightleaf Square office and retail complex, said he heard so many crunching and metal-grinding crashes that he decided to set up a video camera to record them.

Since the new system has been installed, Henn said his camera has captured fewer crashes.

"I see the trucks stop and take their 15 seconds to consider their options. A lot of them turn around," Henn said.

Henn also thinks a lower speed limit through the area would help.

No one has been injured in any of the collisions. ​

The new system cost about $130,000.