Rant on low bridges

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by davenjeip, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. Dionysus

    Dionysus Medium Load Member

    Nov 21, 2010
    Edmonton, AB
    One of the great things about living in Alberta is that 17 feet is considered low clearance. You would really have to try hard to hit a low bridge. They do exist, but they are rare.

    However, not all of my trucking has been in the Canadian west. I think I'm safe telling this story now as the Austrian cops are a long way away and not actively looking for me. I was driving through an industrial area of Vienna a few years ago, looking for a shipper. The truck was an older beast with leaf springs, and supposedly rode at 3.9 meters. I came up on a bridge with 3.8 meter signage and crawled up to it. To my surprise, I got under with an inch or so to spare. Next bridge? 3.8 meters. Didn't even slow down and shot straight through. The bridge was high enough. Unfortunately the wires for the tramway that shared the road were not. There was a minor explosion, clouds of sparks and I may have uttered a few words which have destroyed any chance I may have had of entering Paradise. I slunk off before anyone noticed.

    On another occasion, my boss told me to find a cheap (or preferably) free route unto Italy. The Mont Blanc and Frejus tunnels are hideously expensive, so I scoped out the route from Ventimiglia to Turin. Seemed to work, except for 2.5 miles under a mountain. The Tunnel du Tende has 3.8 meters clearance and a massive I-beam to reinforce the message. I had to drop the air suspension on the tractor and trailer to get through. The tunnel is one-way for trucks but cars may pass two-way. Every car driver that came toward me panicked and hit the brakes, leaving me to squeeze past with the trailer nearly touching the rounded roof of the tunnel. I've never been so pleased to see Italy, or daylight.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010
    hup and scottied67 Thank this.
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  3. Slam-Bang

    Slam-Bang Bobtail Member

    Feb 7, 2007
    S.F BayArea
  4. Infosaur

    Infosaur Road Train Member

    I think I just discovered a new explitive! :biggrin_2559:
    Dionysus Thanks this.
  5. Dionysus

    Dionysus Medium Load Member

    Nov 21, 2010
    Edmonton, AB
    For once, I'm lost for words! My wife would thank you (and ask for some tips).

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    VIDEODROME Road Train Member

    Jun 7, 2007
    Mobile, AL
    Well I came face to face with a 12'6" low bridge in Buffalo, NY on Williams road. I was trying to get to Michigan Ave. I should have just taken the highway around the whole area I guess.

    Anyway by the time you see the sign it's kind of a late notice for the truck. There isn't a truck route turn off by the sign I wound up crawling into a neighboorhood, slowly turning around, and crawling back out.
  7. Infrared61ranger

    Infrared61ranger Light Load Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    You cant rely on the atlas anymore. Back in 1996 when I started Rand MCnally had every low bridge listed and Ny/Chicago had the most i counted cause i was bored now they just dont waste the ink on them anymore
  8. gravdigr

    gravdigr Road Train Member

    May 2, 2011
    Hollidaysburg, PA
    My old home town has a notorious low bridge. It's a steel train trestle with an incline right after it. Usually once a year we get a trailer peeled open like a sardine can. The problem is there is no way around this bridge through town, you have to get back on the highway and go down to the next exit. But the town sees a lot of truck traffic on that exit due to the paper mill and industrial complex on the town side of the bridge which is safe. So southbound trucks take the town exit rather than the next exit then backtrack to their delivery just a half mile past the low bridge. The trick with this bridge is you can fit under it....at first. Then right after it the road inclines sharply and turns causing trailers to catch in the middle after the driver thinks he is safe. A pretty dirty trick. Still the clearance is marked 11'6"
  9. 7122894003481

    7122894003481 Bobtail Member

    Sep 6, 2011
    Heres a trick to be more aware of low bridges.....Look at the landscape and the buildings in the area you are in. If it has narrow streets, square corners, and old buildings, then it is an old part of town and is likely to have old bridges. Old bridges meaning bridges built long before 13'6 high buildings existed.

    Im a local driver myself, and have peddled freight in some very old and narrow parts of different cities. I really hate unmarked bridges, especially when they are on main roads. Of course, they are usually tall enough to clear but you just never know. I have no problem with hitting the flashers, and creeping under that bridge until I know Im clear..Ive done it a hundred times.

    I know they usually give a couple inches leeway on bridges, but I went under a 13'7 bridge one time, and I think it really was 13'7......I looked up and it really looked like I was gonna hit it, and I took it at about 5mph.
    double_r Thanks this.
  10. fgb3

    fgb3 Light Load Member

    Nov 2, 2011
    elba ny
    im out of western ny for the most part around here anyways they are a foot more than the sign unless it says "actual clearance" one in particular that i always see trucks sitting on the side of the road is on rte 63 just west of 36. It used to say 13'6" but trucks go under it all the time I see recently that someone actually took the sign off the bridge but i still see people sitting on the side of the road because they are not sure. and you cant really rely on the rand mcnally gps all the time because mine wont route me that way even though i go there every week and it cuts off 30 miles or so because of that bridge. yet another place east of rochester it always tells me to turn on this one road but there is a 10 foot bridge right ahead
  11. dirtyjerz

    dirtyjerz glowing beard pouty kid

    Jun 7, 2011
    Playing in Traffic
    Had one is queens wendsday marked 12'1" and made it no problem with 12'5" stacks (empty flat)
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