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“Can Opener” Bridge Lowered Due to Popular Demand

The people have spoken and the world-famous Durham icon is coming down ... height-wise.

Posted By Craig Carter on Apr 01, 2020

The bridge tried for many years to warn oncoming vehicles with bright yellow signs and a flashing sign with the words “OVERHEIGHT MUST TURN.”

The scars on its metal facade (not unlike those of a bull elephant seal) should have served as a warning ... but Americans have a habit of ignoring impending doom even when it’s staring them right in the face.

Constructed in 1940, the bridge was made world famous after Durham resident Jürgen Henn’s started recording the crashes back in 2008. His 11foot8.com kept a running video diary of every truck cleaved by the overpass.

On November 2019, the famous bridge on S. Gregson St. was raised eight inches (from 11'8" to 12'4") to prevent more trucks from losing their tops. However the response from fans was overwhelming. People from all over the world lamented the end of an era. Someone even created a makeshift memorial.

Officials since have decided to re-lower the bridge.

Scrap Exchange

When asked for comment, Director of Overpasses Bridget McBridgerton said, “This is something Durham needs right now, something the world needs right now. A symbol that shows we can get over any obstacle that’s in front of us … by making it so low that’s it easy to climb over it.”

“But it’s not enough to put back to where it was,” she added. “We have to go farther because that’s what Durham does.”

The new height of “The Can Opener” bridge will be 11.8" — a nod to the famous height while also being capable of opening actual cans.

Thanks so much for reading the entire article! These unprecedented times warrant the occasional moment of levity. Thanks for enjoying ours and have a great rest of your April Fools' Day.

—Discover Raleigh-Durham

About the Author

Craig Carter - Social Media Manager

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