Could 12foot5 Have Been an Alternate Solution to 11foot8?

The clearance of the bridge which used to be known as the notorious 11Foot8 — as it was named after the height of its span being eleven feet and eight inches of clearance suspended off of the surface of the street — in Durham under which trucks, buses, recreational vehicles and other tall conveyances have either their tops peeled like a can in a can opener or have much of the vehicle annihilated altogether has recently been raised to 12foot4.

Could 12foot5 Have Been an Alternate Solution to 11foot8?

12'5" Bridge Zanesville

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

During a recent visit to Zanesville in Ohio, I unexpectedly met with a rather unusual railroad overpass which is nine feet and seven inches of clearance above the roadway of Linden Avenue below.

12'5" Bridge Zanesville

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

At first glance, one would believe that the concrete divider — which was painted bright yellow — underneath the bridge separates each direction of Linden Avenue…

12'5" Bridge Zanesville

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

…but what it really does is separate a lane for oversized vehicles of up to 12 feet and five inches tall from the main part of Linden Avenue — this lane goes deeper into the ground than Linden Avenue itself — and the lane is actually used in both directions by the aforementioned oversized vehicles.

12'5" Bridge Zanesville

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

This is what the bridge looks like from the other side facing south on Linden Avenue towards another unusual bridge which I visited, which I will highlight in a future article…

12'5" Bridge Zanesville

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

…and warning bars of some type hang from a pole overhead to alert drivers of oversized vehicles to either use the special lane with the larger clearance under the bridge…

12'5" Bridge Zanesville

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

…or to perhaps not use the bridge at all and decide on an alternate route, as different sizes of the weathered bars —  which look like they have seen better days — end at different heights above the roadway.

12'5" Bridge Zanesville

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Visiting this bridge left me wondering if this would have been a more viable solution to be considered for the infamous 11foot8 bridge instead of being raised to a clearance of 12foot4, but I believe that sewer lines underground would have rendered that solution to be difficult to implement.

12'5" Bridge Zanesville

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Summary

These old bridges and trestles fascinate me — especially as they become outdated with the improvements of modern vehicular ground transportation.

Incidentally, oversized vehicles are not impervious to the perils of the bridge in Durham which is now known as 12foot4, as three incidents have already occurred since its clearance was raised…

…as evidenced by three of the 153 videos — at the time this article was written — of incidents which have been recorded by Jürgen Henn since April of 2008, which caused me to wonder if 12foot5 in Zanesville would have been a better overall solution. Videos copyright © Jürgen Henn — 11foot8.com.

Talk about an upgrade — literally…

All photographs ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

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