Friday, January 8, 2010

Delivery Truck Wedged Under Lawrence L Bridge

A reader writes in with this tidbit:
"I just wanted to let people know that there's currently a delivery truck wedged under the Red Line L tracks at Lawrence. The roof is peeled back sardine-can-style and it looks to be really stuck. It's in the westbound lane and causing quite a backup. Police are directing traffic, but it might make sense to avoid that stretch of Lawrence. The L is not affected."
Update: A reader sends in this pic of the "sardined" truck and adds:
"This happens about once every two months. Definitely the fault of the yahoo drivers who hit the warning bar and barge ahead, but still, the CTA needs to come up with something idiot-proof, as this can't be good for the bridge!"


  1. I can confirm because I saw it when I was walking my dog - the police are directing traffic down Winthrop and it's really backed up. Avoid this area at all costs.

  2. If this is happening all the time, I wonder if the height of the bridge is mismarked. Drivers REALLY don't want to skim the top off their trucks. Sometimes the sign is wrong -- or sometimes when street repaving is done, it raises the level of the street. There's got to be a reason this happens all the time at this one location.

  3. This happens more frequently to the Kennedy bridges downtown, especially on North. I've heard from a friend at a trucking company that the bridges are known to be sinking slightly -- whether that's from load, poor design, or is to be expected in a structure that old, I don't know.

  4. "CTA" and "idiot-proof" are not words you often see in the same sentence.

    Note: John Fritchey, Mike Quigley, Sec of Transportation LaHood and Hizzoner are cutting a ribbon at the Fullerton Brown Line stop, this afternoon.

    Must be nice to have a decent L stop.

  5. I submitted the photo, and live right next to the bridge there. The reason that it happens all the time is that, if you are headed west, the bottom of the first track is 3-4 ft higher than the bottom of the second track. So if you're not paying attention, it looks like you have plenty of room. There's a "warning bar" hanging down that is supposed to advise the driver that his truck is too high, but they drive right through it and plow in to the bottom of the second bridge.

    I suppose the answer is some kind of larger, more brightly painted, or generally more substanital warning bar? It's amazing to me that the drivers are so careless as to miss the first one, but obviously, they are.

  6. When I was a young structural engineer they had me go out and measure 1700(the entire city of chicago) bridges viaducts, etc. You would not believe how many of these posted heights are wrong. Of course the city has never changed them. Tax dollars at work..........

  7. The city maintains a phone # for Viaduct Clearance at 312 744-6460 & a call to 311 may also help BEFORE you travel under these bridges.

    The photo obviously is a rental truck which probably means the driver isn't familiar with driving a truck and has never even CONSIDERED that he needed to be concerned about clearances.

    Or maybe the tires were just waaaay over-inflated! ;-)