City leaders look at solutions for a notorious low-clearance bridge in Springfield, Mo.

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 12:32 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2022 at 4:18 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Another truck got stuck. The Grant Avenue railroad overpass in north Springfield keeps causing issues for truckers.

A truck could not clear the low-clearance bridge on Wednesday night. BNSF Railroad controls the bridge. Railroad officials say it is tough to raise.

A driver for a moving company said he regularly avoids this area because he has seen many trucks try to go under and get shredded. Martin Gugel, assistant director of Springfield Public Works, said he wants people to stay aware of the advanced signage of the low bridge.

“We haven’t been able to find a solution besides just trying to give that advance warning and trying to get that information out to the public and trust them to make that right decision when they are driving our city streets,” said Gugel.

Zachariah McCann, who drives large trucks and works for a moving company, said it’s hard to get out if the bridge sticks you.

“Either have to continue going straight and hope for the best, can’t open the top to your truck, or you have to try and find a way to turn around which, Grant is a pretty busy street,” said McCann.

The Grant Avenue railroad overpass has been here for almost 100 years. McCann said its time to catch up to the present.

“They didn’t have trucks this tall back then, so I don’t blame them for not making it taller,” said McCann. “But at the same time, with today’s current day and age, I feel like they either should make it taller or those signs more easily accessible.”

Gugel said trucks have been getting stuck under the bridge for decades. But the city doesn’t own the bridge, BNSF Railway does, and Gugel said it is not easy to raise.

“Just to raise this bridge, you’d have to raise the track as well, and you’d have to have those improvements that would have to go out quite a ways on either side,” said Gugel. “It’s not as easy as it sounds.”

Gugel said they couldn’t lower the street because of drainage issues or close it because of traffic flow.

However, Gugel said there are some warning signs to alarm drivers to stay away and use an alternate truck route. Besides damage to the truck and the bridge, drivers could get fined for hitting the bridge.

“Would like to see some folks just taking that extra effort and not be distracted and not just blindly trust their guidance system,” said Gugel.

McCann suggests drivers always check their truck’s height, even if they’re just renting it.

“Be mindful of the height,” said McCann. “Usually, on the corner next to the driver’s door, it will set your maximum height, and you always want to check that before you pull out.”

Gugel said the city is trying to find improvements for the bridge in the next 5-10 years, but updated safety measures could come sooner, like a radar system.

“Senses you approaching, and the lights would come on for that additional warning saying, hey, we’ve detected you’re higher than what the clearance is,” said Gugel.

When we asked BNSF about the bridge, communications officials said they don’t have any requests to change or raise it but would welcome a solution that works for everyone.

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