The low railroad bridge on West Central Avenue (State Route 37) in Delaware, Ohio, is getting a new laser-tripped warning system. But, would brighter LED lights on existing signs do the job as well?
 - Photo: Tom Berg

The low railroad bridge on West Central Avenue (State Route 37) in Delaware, Ohio, is getting a new laser-tripped warning system. But, would brighter LED lights on existing signs do the job as well?

Photo: Tom Berg

Tractor-trailer drivers passing through Delaware, Ohio, will soon have a better chance of avoiding a collision with that 12-foot, 7-inch railroad bridge that I’ve written about a couple of times. City spokesman Lee Yoakum announced that crews this week will begin setting the poles and signs on West Central Avenue for a new advance-warning system.

Numerous big rigs and a few straight trucks have smacked the bridge in recent years when drivers ignored Low Clearance warning signs posted east and west of the structure. Yoakum blames the drivers for lack of attention, and he’s not wrong, especially as drivers get close to the bridge. Jeez, don’t they see it? Evidently not.

But I think the existing warning signs along the route, most with flashing yellow lights, blend in too readily with other visual clutter along the roadway, which is State Route 37.

There are more modern high-powered LED lights, like those that mark pedestrian crossings on other streets. They really grab motorists’ eyes. Seems to me that just replacing the yellow flashers with the extra-bright LEDs would’ve done the job at less cost.

The installation site near the Delaware, Ohio bridge.
 - Photo: Lee Yoakum, City of Delaware

The installation site near the Delaware, Ohio bridge.

Photo: Lee Yoakum, City of Delaware

Yet the new system sounds neat. Yoakum’s release states, “Now, vehicles too tall [to pass under the bridge] will trip a laser beam, triggering a flashing message that will warn drivers to stop immediately, and flash a phone number for assistance getting turned around. This won't completely ‘solve’ the problem of truck drivers not paying attention, but it will help and will reduce the number of incidents.

“The City received $215,000 in funding through the state safety program for the project. Once the poles are set, a second crew will return in a week or two to wire everything and make it operational.”

When it’s done, I might take a pole over there and try to trip that laser beam just to watch the light show.

The warning system activates a warning sign if the truck is too tall.
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The warning system activates a warning sign if the truck is too tall.

Author

Tom Berg
Tom Berg

Tom Berg

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational trucks and trailers of all types.

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Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational trucks and trailers of all types.

View Bio
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