Famously Low ’11-Foot-8′ Bridge Will Be Raised by Eight Inches to Stop the Carnage

Shall every box truck and oversized vehicle breathe a sigh of relief.

byChris Chin| PUBLISHED Oct 21, 2019 10:15 AM
Famously Low ’11-Foot-8′ Bridge Will Be Raised by Eight Inches to Stop the Carnage

The days of wasting time watching countless trucks wreck themselves at the famous 11-foot-8 bridge in Durham, North Carolina have come to an end. The city's transportation department confirmed via Twitter that it will be closing down the area to raise the famously low bridge in the coming weeks.

The HuffPost reports that the bridge’s clearance will be raised by eight inches to a new total of 12 feet and four inches. That’s about as tall as it can go without further construction involving another crossing, according to Durham DOT spokesperson Bill Judge.

For well over a decade, the bridge at the intersection of South Gregson Street and West Peabody Street in the Brightleaf neighborhood has enjoyed world recognition for being the epicenter of transportation carnage. The bridge, which only has a clearance of 11 feet and eight inches (hence the infamous name) has also been nicknamed “the Can Opener” and the "Gregson Street Guillotine" due to the number of heavy-duty vehicles it has decapitated. 

Several signs highlighting the bridge's lower-than-usual height were installed nearby and at the bridge in 2016, but despite these warnings, many drivers fall victim to the bridge like these two refrigerated trucks it claimed in just two days. A traffic light near the bridge features a special sensor that detects vehicles too tall to make the bridge, which flags drivers by showing a red-lit sign that literally says “Overheight, Must Turn.”

Given the regular occurrence of nasty crashes at the location, a man named Jürgen Henn set up cameras from his office window so he could record the trucks and buses that continuously meet their demise. Following the camera placements in 2008, there have been almost 200 crashes from trucks or tall vehicles colliding with the protective steel barrier at the crucial rail crossing.

Henn also launched a webpage and YouTube channel dedicated to the 11-foot-8 Bridge. So far, he’s published around 150 videos of incidents at the site and racked up 73,500 subscribers and over 26,136,848 views since launching in 2007.