BCR's Daily Fishwrap Report for March 13, 2009
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Gregson St. railroad bridge's greatest hits ... or make that, decapitations

You know that old saying about watching a train wreck? That idea that you can't turn your eyes away from it?

Well, this isn't a train wreck, but one level below it. Literally: trucks wrecking on the underpass that runs below the N.C.R.R. railway at Gregson St. here in Durham.

Somebody at Brightleaf Square has apparently set up a camera looking out their office window, trained on the bridge -- probably, we'd suspect, to capture these moments, which thankfully have been all-fun and no-injuries to date. And now, they've been set into a compilation, a greatest-hits montage of the bridge's greatest truck encounters.

This week the viral video hit the popular web site Autoblog, and it didn't take readers very long the site to narrow this down to our own Bull City. Ah, something we can all be proud of. Er, sort of.



That's gotta suck! I wonder home many people driving commercial or rental trucks really know how tall their truck is? Apparently, there are quite a few who have no clue.

Sonja Foust

That is awesome. I've seen several of these in the after-math, but what a good idea to set up a cam and capture the real thing. :)

David McMullen

I actually witnessed a truck "decapitation" once, not at this bridge but on a side street off of Club Blvd. - I think it was Farthing St. There are some huge oak trees on that street with some large branches that aren't quite high enough for a Ryder truck to get under. It wasn't a pretty sight.


Someone else edited several of these Gregson truck crashes together and set them to music:


Allen Kennedy

Ah, Durham bridges...providing the fate of so many large trucks. There should be another one on the 9th/Erwin bridge.


New Durham slogan:

"Building Bridges, Killing Trucks"

Ray Gronberg

Now that's traffic calming.


Isn't this making it unsafe for everyone driving over or under this bridge? Seems like it would lead to a collapse eventually.


Ray, your comment cracked me up! Too bad that we don't have a low bridge like this over on E. Trinity.

Keep Durham Beautiful

I once drove a 12 ' plus truck 1,300 miles from Canada to Durham and I was ALWAYS careful to mind-the-signs.

Blame the driver, not Durham.


Yeah, it is the driver's fault... but you still can't help but feel bad for the bill that Ryder/U-Haul/etc is going to hand them.....

I hope they paid $20 for the insurance :)


There's nothing that can be done to prevent this, so you may as well get some enjoyment from it. My hometown, Davenport, Iowa, has its own truck-eating bridge. There are huge signs starting about 10 miles back telling trucks to take an alternate route, as well as big yellow caution signs as you approach, yet at least once a month a truck crunches under it.


Drivers I guess just either don't know how big their vehicles are, or they don't understand that the bridge won't magically grow so they can pass under it.

David McMullen

John: I've noticed when driving under this bridge that there's a steel I-beam a foot or so in front of it, at the same level as the bridge. It looks like it was put there specifically to take the impact of over-height vehicles. So they're not hitting the actual structure of the bridge.


yeah, i was in brightleaf today watching UNC lose at Satisfaction : ) and i noticed the bridge after leaving, any person with 2 eyes would have common sense enough to know they can't make that.


But the TROSA truck should have known better!

Gregor Samsa

What about the yellow lights that are supposed to flash if your vehicle is overheight? They don't appear to do so in the video. Are they just fish bait?


The bridge on Roxboro just before you hit Main St downtown is also a truck eater. I've seen a number of stuck trucks there over the years.

David McMullen

It's interesting - the Gregson Street bridge, the 9th Street/Erwin Road bridge mentioned by Allen, and the Roxboro bridge mentioned by Jill are all railway bridges. I'm not sure who's responsible for the bridges - the track belongs to the state-owned NCRR but is leased to Norfolk Southern.

Dan S.

@ David McMullen: The steel I-beams in front of the Erwin Rd/9th St @ Main St RR underpass we put in about 4 months ago.


Actually when they hit the I-beam on gregson st. it does affect the bridge because the I-beam is braced against the cement footings of the bridge. I would hate to think what would happen if the train and truck arrive at the same time. Ouch!


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