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NE Mpls. Bridge Snares 3rd Truck In Weeks

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A railroad bridge in northeast Minneapolis has trapped another semi-trailer truck under its steel girders.

Dan Karst and his wife Linda run a recycling business near Columbia Parkway and 5th Street Northeast, just up the road from a steel railroad bridge where traffic flows underneath.

That’s unless the passing vehicle is higher than 12 feet 2 inches in height.

They watched Friday morning as another chagrined truck driver surveyed the damage and shook his head. He was the latest victim to be caught under the bridge like a steel trap.

“In the three years we’ve been here, five or six trucks have been stuck under that bridge that we’ve seen,” Karst said. “I’m sure there’s more.”

Yellow caution signs are posted up and down 5th Street Northeast warning drivers of the overhead clearance of 12 feet 9 inches. But the bridge is actually just a tad bit higher.

WCCO measured the bridge clearance from the road to the steel girders at exactly 13 feet 2 inches – that’s another five inches the city built in just to be safer.

Still, it doesn’t seem to matter to some drivers who ignore the caution and attempt to drive underneath.

“They’re looking for the address while they’re driving through, they’re not seeing the signage,” Karst said.

This is the third truck to get stuck under the bridge in less than a month. On March 14, a semi-trailer had its top peeled back by the sturdy steel girders. One week later on March 21, another semi-trailer was tipped onto its side when it forced its way under the bridge.

When asked if they can tell which rigs are going to make it without touching, Linda Karst says she can tell which rigs will safely make it under the bridge by the size of their trailers.

Standing near the bridge, you can watch as many truck drivers heed the warning signs and turn onto safer routes.

What they might be losing in lost time, they’ll more than save in costly repairs and embarrassment.

“We feel bad for the drivers because it is very costly for them and their companies,” Karst said.

Minneapolis Public Works is aware of the recurring problem, but a spokesperson says they have done everything that is required by posting the clearance caution signs.

The department says it is the responsibility of drivers to know the height of their loads.

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