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Binghamton, N.Y., Bridge Causing Repeat Trucking Accidents

A bridge in Binghamton, N.Y., seems to be collecting a lot of truck accidents recently, according to WBNG-Binghamton. A railroad bridge located at the Front Street near an intersection with Clinton Street continues to cause traffic jams on nearby roads. The problem? Large trucks keep getting stuck underneath it.

Clearance Less Than 12 Feet

The bridge belongs to the Norfolk-Southern Railway. When trucks get stuck underneath, it not only stops vehicular traffic on the roads underneath, but the trains have to come to a stop as well. The clearance of the bridge is only 11 feet 11 inches above the road surface. The City of Binghamton reportedly made the height-limit signs clearer two years ago.

Three Accidents Within Two Months

The location of the bridge is a problem. It spans the main route that trucks take into the city from the highway. The latest casualty was a tractor pulling an auto trailer full of new cars for a local dealership. The tractor-trailer "struck the railroad bridge, which caused some considerable damage to the truck and the cars on the truck," noted a Binghamton Police patrolman. The latest accident was the third truck to become trapped under the railroad bridge in the past two months.

Both Railroad and City Claim Problem Cannot Be Easily Fixed

Low-clearance bridges can become troublesome for tractor-trailers, especially when the road level slowly rises with resurfacing. Sometimes they can be extricated by merely taking air from the tires and backing out. Other accidents, like the latest on Front Street, can be more complicated. The report noted that the Norfolk-Southern Railway cannot raise the bridge. The City of Binghamton, on the other hand, noted that funds that could have been used to lower the roadway were diverted for other purposes.

Motor Vehicle Accidents Could Result in Liability for Additional Parties

A motor vehicle accident involving a truck stuck under the overpass could involve more parties than just the owners and operators of the motor vehicles. If a municipality fails to provide adequate notice of low-clearance bridges, or knows of a defective or dangerous condition on its highways and fails to repair it, the municipality could be held responsible for subsequent accidents at the location.