We all praise the GPS apps that help us get around, but there is no current resource that tells drivers if the vehicle they’re operating is too tall for the upcoming bridge. As a truck, bus driver or fleet operator, this is pertinent information that is currently lacking while navigating our streets. Far too often, this results in "can opener" accidents, where the bridge peels off the top of the truck. These “bridge strikes” can cause damage to not only the truck and bridge, but they can sometimes be fatal to the drivers. In addition, many people have been hit by falling bridge debris after the accident.

This is the second time this year trucks have hit the Norfolk Southern railroad overpass heading to Rickenbacker airport cargo facilities.” – Village of Lockbourne Mayor, Christie Ward. (Photo credit: Michelle Jones)

I-270 reopens on south side after truck hits power lines, bridge

July 17, 2017, by NBC4 Staff


The truck also took down several utility lines, before the dump bed fell off. The truck then slid off the road and ended up in Shawn and Carl Williamson’s backyard.

The couple said they heard what they thought at first was thunder from inside their home.

“He was already out of the truck when we got back here,” said Carl. “He was stumbling back here. I could see blood coming out of his face, dripping down his arms.”

Read full article at NBC4

According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, trucks haul 88% of freight in Ohio. However, this problem is larger than just freight. Many accidents also occur with moving and rental trucks. Local Franklin County officials, who see the same bridges hit over and over, are concerned about the costs of bridge strikes in terms of safety, commuter frustration and lost time for the 1,799 Columbus-based logistics, delivery and trucking companies.

There are 762 bridges in Franklin County, but information on their dimensions is often scattered and hard find. We believe there’s opportunity to fill this “app gap” and help motorists navigate their way around – or under – Columbus bridges.

There are 27,000+ bridges in Ohio, the 2nd highest count in the country, and there are 762 in Franklin County with many at risk for bridge hits.

GPS 2.0

Smart Columbus spoke with truckers, app developers, engineers, police officers, logistics companies, government agencies and researchers and found that the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) spends $1 million annually to fix bridges hit by oversize vehicles. One recent bridge strike alone was estimated to have caused $210,000 in damage. While ODOT pursues reimbursement from insurance companies, time and resources could be saved if data on bridge dimensions could be applied to help avoid such collisions in the first place.

Meanwhile, many bridge strikes aren’t reported unless the truck gets stuck. We believe there’s an opportunity to create apps or other solutions that could facilitate the reporting of bridge strikes, so officials could more proactively understand and address bridge damage.

That’s why we’re publishing the following data on bridge dimensions in Franklin County. By sharing this data, we hope the development community will help us innovate solutions that can prevent bridge strikes, proactively re-route oversized trucks, make it easier to report bridge damage and more.

Together, let’s unlock the potential of this data to make our roads and bridges easier to drive on, more cost effective to manage and safer for everyone.