Iowa Drivers Repeatedly Slam Into Bridge

July 28, 2014

A low bridge in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is proving challenging to motorists.

Drivers of tall vehicles have hit the Canadian National Railroad bridge twice this week and at least five times this year. The bridge is on the north side of Council Bluffs, near the Big Lake area and the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s usually people that don’t understand the height of what they’re driving,” Pat Miller, operations director for the Council Bluffs Public Works Department, told the Daily Nonpareil.

People have been hitting the bridge for years. Signs that say the bridge is 8 feet, 8 inches above the roadway and flashing lights have helped, but people still smash into the span.

“They see the lights, the signs, but just don’t think their vehicle is that tall,” Miller said.

Last week, George Weber of South China, Maine, took off his RV’s air conditioning unit, causing about $2,000 damage to the vehicle. He told officers he didn’t realize the RV was so tall.

On Tuesday, Will Louis, of Punta Gorda, Florida, hit the bridge with a moving truck, causing damage to the vehicle’s roof. Louis said he didn’t see signs but, “knew it’d be close when he got to the bridge,” according to a police report.

Council Bluffs Police Traffic Division Sgt. Jason Bailey said many of the wrecks occur with out-of-towners who find themselves in the wrong lane on southbound Interstate 29 and inadvertently get off on 16th Street. As the drivers try to turn around, Bailey said, they try – and fail – to go under the bridge.

He said the bridge rarely suffers damage.

“It’s built pretty solid,” Bailey said. “Usually the vehicles lose that one.”

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