The Pierre Street ‘Can Opener’ Wins Again
Albert Einstein famously said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Well, it's happened again. Another truck driver dared to take on the RCP&E Pierre Street Bridge and lost. I'm calling it the 'Pierre Street Bridge Challenge' and so far the 113-year-old bridge is undefeated. During the last 10 years, more than 100 truck trailers have taken the challenge and this is at least the second time in 2020.
According to a tweet from the South Dakota Highway Patrol, on December 10 a truck pulling a livestock trailer became wedged as it tried to pass under the low 11 foot 3-inch bridge.
The Federal Highway Administration mandates that bridges be at least 14 feet above the road surface. The Pierre Street Bridge was built by the Chicago & North Western Railway and opened in 1907, long before anyone had to worry about the full-size truck-trailers we have today.
What goes through a driver's mind when they are coming up to the bridge? Do they panic or maybe they channel their inner Evel Knievel and say "Hold my beer, watch this!" I'm sure it's an imaginary beer.
It should be said that trucks are not allowed down this stretch of Pierre Street. The City of Pierre has done more than enough to prevent trucks from driving on Pierre Street including signs and the installation of sensors to alert drivers that their trailer is too high.
Some drivers have told police that their GPS leads them down the street and into the bridge. When a driver is in a strange area, it can be easy to get in trouble by relying too much on navigation. GPS has led me astray more than once, but I was never pulling a semi-trailer into a bridge.
Drivers who hit the bridge can be cited with a ticket between $88 and $125 and endure some embarrassment.
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