City considers new signage after truck slams Marconi overpass

City considers new signage after truck slams Marconi overpass

For the third time in less than two months, a tractor trailer slammed into a rail overpass in City Park.

The incident created traffic problems on Marconi Dr., slowed rail traffic through the city, and has some worried about future injuries.

Another day, another example of what happens when two solid objects try and occupy the same space.

"I was here 10 days ago, and he sheared the top, but not as bad as this guy here," said Mike Laviolette.

A Southeastern freight truck headed toward the lake Friday slammed into the rail overpass on Marconi Drive in City Park, shutting down traffic for several hours and prompting locals to wonder why it keeps happening. The impact sheared off the top of the trailer.

"I'm glad everybody's okay but it's jamming me up a little bit," said Blair Halverson.

People using the park had to adjust their schedules and change their routes.

"I will probably figure something out involving parking over here and walking to the dog park," said Halverson.

Other drivers pushed north against oncoming traffic, creating a hazard in the dip in the road.

The rail overpass has taken a lot of abuse from multiple wrecks over the last couple of months. Rail inspectors say they have already been out once, but they will check it out again before they clear the Norfolk Southern line for more traffic through City Park.

Norfolk Southern spokeswoman Susan Terpay said until the tracks are re-inspected, they've put a slow order in place. That means rail traffic speed in that area has been reduced from 40 miles per hour to 10. Terpay says the overpass and signage belong to the city.

"I've seen this happen four times in the last three years," Laviolette said.

There is a sign warning truckers about the height restrictions, but witnesses say another sign on the bridge itself was knocked off in an earlier crash.

"If they put a pole up and ran a wire across the street if they hit the wire, they won't go up and hit the bridge," Halverson said.

Some worry if nothing is done, someone's going to get hurt. The Southeastern Freight driver involved in today's crash appeared okay, but company officials had no comment.

City officials say the city is in the process of designing a clearance bar, to warn truck drivers about the low clearance. They also say they're assessing the damage to the bridge, but warn drivers to obey the existing clearance signs.

NOPD spokesman Frank Robertson says the truck driver was cited for disregarding the posted height clearance sign.

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