Michi was watching a “marathon” of some show called Caught On Camera today on MSNBC. Basically, each episode is a collection of video footage captured by personal video cameras, surveillance systems, and so on, and showing shocking, offbeat, or just stupid things.
That’s right; whenever we’re bored, we take solace from watching the antics of our fellow humans.
During one segment, they profiled an area of Durham, North Carolina where a train trestle bridge crosses a busy street, with clearance for vehicle traffic passing beneath it measured at 11 feet 8″. That’s pretty low by modern standards, but back when the bridge was first built more than one hundred years ago, there were no standards for minimum height or clearance levels.
Apparently, this bridge attracts no small amount of trouble. Trucks were hitting the underside of the trestle at an alarming rate, to the point that the railroad company that uses the track and trestle installed a “crash bar” just before the bridge to prevent further damage to the structure itself. Signs are posted, both at the bridge as well as for blocks up the streets approaching it. Flashing lights which are triggered by vehicles too tall to pass under the bridge were installed.
Durham resident Jurgen Henn owns a business overlooking the street near the intersection, and he installed video cameras to capture footage from different angles. The results are both hilarious and dumbfounding. According to him, a truck strikes the bridge (or, rather, the bar set up in front of it) on an average of once a month, inflicting varying degrees of damage to the vehicle. For reasons which will soon be obvious, the bridge has acquired the nickname “the Can Opener.”
Thankfully, our intrepid videographer has made his recordings available for our viewing pleasure at his website: 11foot8.
In a word? Awesome.
In addition to the videos offered at the website, there’s also a YouTube video feed.
Thanks very much to Mr. Henn for his efforts.