5 votes

NS - Gregson Street Guillotine


NS - Gregson Street bridge

Looking SW

Photo taken by Royce and Bobette Haley in February 2015


BH Photo #316856


Street Views 


Example Truck Crash

Today (8/3/11) this boxtruck smashed into the Gregson St trestle and got wedged under the bridge. They deflated the tires and one of Big John's towing trucks pulled the box truck out. Later, Norfolk Southern sent a crew over to inspect the trestle and the crash beam. Sorry - only one angle ... the other camera was not working.

Copyright Jürgen Henn - 11foot8.com

Play video on YouTube


This simple steel stringer bridge provides 11' 8" of clearance and has been hit by trucks so many times it has a special headache bar to protect it. It has spawned a website run by someone who keeps a camera trained on the bridge to capture the truck carnage. This bridge is a case study for how many truck drivers are not qualified to operate their vehicle. Familiarity with a truck's weight and height is absolutely essential at all times of operation.


Steel stringer bridge over NC-1327 (Gregson Street) on Southern Railroad
Durham, Durham County, North Carolina
Open to traffic
Built 1940
- Norfolk Southern Railway (NS)
- North Carolina Railroad Co. (NCRR)
- Southern Railway (SOU)
Steel stringer
Length of largest span: 30.8 ft.
Total length: 91.9 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+35.99907, -78.91013   (decimal degrees)
35°59'57" N, 78°54'36" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/688370/3985865 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Southwest Durham
Average daily traffic (as of 1997)
Inventory numbers
NC 630068 (North Carolina bridge number)
BH 50197 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of November 1998)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • February 22, 2015: New photos from Royce and Bobette Haley
  • April 12, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category ""Truck-Eating""
  • November 14, 2011: Added by Nathan Holth



NS - Gregson Street Guillotine
Posted February 1, 2019, by Todd Vierling (tv [at] duh [dot] org)

This bridge does have a reinforced bar in front of it. That's what actually does the "can opener" effect as locals call it; the truck tops get sheared off by the bar, not the bridge.

The protection bar has a clearance of 11 feet, 8 inches; the bridge itself if unprotected would have clearance of approximately 11 feet, 10 inches, but it would be *extremely* vulnerable to damage. The road is one-way under the bridge, and there is not a protection bar in the other direction.

NS - Gregson Street Guillotine
Posted January 19, 2019, by George Oakley (Georgeoakley49 [at] yahoo [dot] com )

Todd,I agree with you and know that if you put cast iron headache bars so far in front of the bridges that they don't ruin the look of the bridges that would work.I don't know of any truck that can move a headache bar anchored securely in the ground.

NS - Gregson Street Guillotine
Posted January 19, 2019, by Todd Vierling (tv [at] duh [dot] org)


Part of the problem with these bridges is that it's not always easy to fix the issue. Railroad bridges can't change height in a short distance, so without a couple miles of rail height change, the only other option is lowering the road. Given drainage and other infrastructure, this is not always an option either.

NS - Gregson Street Guillotine
Posted January 7, 2018, by George oakley (georgeoakley49 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I've seen countless videos of truck eating bridges.When is this nonsense going to stop?Or do the repair shops and wreckers love the business they get not to stop it?

NS - Gregson Street Guillotine
Posted January 7, 2018, by Don Morrison (bacchus [at] mchsi [dot] com)

A New Years Eve Penske Peel at the can opener bridge.


NS - Gregson Street Guillotine
Posted June 23, 2015, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)
Gregson Street Guillotine
Posted November 14, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

mmmmmm.... truuuucks...

Gregson Street Guillotine
Posted November 14, 2011, by Anonymous

There is a stringer bridge on the approach to the Government Bridge in Davenport, Iowa that is also known for the same stuff and has also become known rather infamously as "The Truck Eating Bridge."

Gregson Street Guillotine
Posted November 14, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

OK, I realize 1940 stringer isn't the most significant bridge, but you have to admire the humor of this.