Last May 6th we reported the removal of “Clerance,” the railroad bridge in downtown New Albany that had peeled the top from many trucks over the years.
Believed to have been built by the predecessor of the Illinois Central Railroad more than a hundred years ago, “Clerance, was distinguished for a foot-high misspelling in the white-lettered warning that trucks more than 10 feet and 6 inches in height could not pass under it. It was also infamous for the fact that, over several decades, “Clerance” wrought considerable damage to trucks and mortifying embarrassment to truck drivers.
At the time of its removal, “Clerance” no longer carried the thousands of tons of railroad trains for which it was built, but had become part of the Tanglefoot Trail, the 43.5-mile cycling and hiking trail that begins in downtown New Albany. A few days after “Clerance” was removed from its creosote-log support, a new, graceful arched span had replaced it. The new steel bridge had more than ample height to allow any road-legal truck to pass under it without damage.
Earlier this week Hudson Hickman called to our attention an article on the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) website about a similar bridge in Durham, North Carolina, that is still peeling truck tops as if they were sardine cans. The “clerance” under the Durham bridge is reported to be 11 feet 8 inches, 14 inches more than the New Albany structure. He also noted the striking similarity of the terrain surrounding the Durham bridge to that where “Clerance” once stood in New Albany.
Below is the link Hudson Hickman sent to us of the WSJ story and video about “The Joys of Watching a Bridge Shave the Tops Off Trucks.”