Major disaster on Storrow Drive averted when moron realizes in time his tanker truck won't fit under bridge

Tanker almost hits overpass on Storrow Drive

Unluckily for him, Brian Clarke wound up right behind this tanker truck around 1 p.m. on Storrow Drive. Luckily for him, the driver stopped before proving that you can't drive a truck under a train bridge under a car bridge while a plane flies overhead.

Ed. note: Even though it doesn't seem like the tank is filled with anything flammable, can you imagine how long it would take to clean up the mess after the top of the thing was torn off?



Free tagging: 


Not okay

JFC, Dad in a UHaul is one thing, but this is absolutely unacceptable for a professional tanker driver. I hope he gets fired.

And it doesn't matter if what he's hauling isn't flammable, unless it's water it's going to be a big problem (sliding scale depending on what it is) if it spills on the roadway and runs off into the river.

Heres the thing. Hes not the

Heres the thing.

Hes not the first professional driver to do this.

There are dozens of amateurs that do it as well.

This isn't a once in a decade problem, its a weekly thing.

That means the DESIGN is clearly the problem. If people keep doing this every week, the signs are clearly not working.

We can sit around, spend millions on fixing bridges that will eventually be damaged beyond easy repair. We can lose millions in lost productivity on traffic jams these incidents cause. We can deal with the pollution from idled cars, potential contamination in the river etc etc


You can put up

all the signs you want, improve their messages and colors so people pay attention to them. But that doesn't mean people will actually read and obey them.

It doesn't mean they won't,

It doesn't mean they won't, either. If putting up new protections causes some non-trivial percentage of truck collisions to go down, that's pretty good, even if the occasional "exceptional" driver still manages to get stuck. It's not like these drivers are just total incompetents who can't do anything right, it's this particular problem which causes them trouble, so if we fix that problem we'll have made progress.

It's not like if we reengineer the Storrow Drive they'll compensate by driving their trucks into the river.

Reengineer Storrow?

That's all on the state dime - as in hundreds of millions of dollars from our state tax money.

You would have to bring the whole thing up to interstate code and reengineer the surrounding neighborhood roadways and consume much of the esplanade to do it. No thanks.

Far better to make far less costly enhancements to the pike and surrounding roads with some of that Federal money we pay more into than we get back, and get rid of Storrow altogether, as it is an expensive, crumbling, inadequate mess already AND it should never have been built to begin with.

Cheap option

Fill in the tunnel and make everything from BU to Leverett Circle at grade reconnecting the Back Bay to the Esplanade and Charles. There's billions worth of redevelopment and green space there.

We could tear down the Charles Gate crossing while we're at it and reconnected the muddy river/emerald necklace with the Charles.

I'd be surprised if we couldn't do all that for the price of fixing the tunnel alone.

For a little more we could also redesign the Soldiers Field/Pike connection in the now defunct TSX rail yard.

The truck driver might indeed

The truck driver might indeed be a moron. So is whoever built a bridge too low over a major downtown connector to an interstate, and all the citizens who gawk at these photos instead of getting the bridges raised.


What do the candidates have to say about this?

This is much more of an issue than noisy trucks in the North End, or Oil trucks on the secondary roads. There's a real cause for concern of a relatively big disaster here.

I don't own a GPS device, but

I don't own a GPS device, but could it be that people are blindly following them and that some devices don't take height restrictions into consideration?

Or maybe this was a coordinated prank... a tanker full of milk hits a bridge while a train loaded with cookies passes overhead?

Death by GPS

People routinely set aside situational awareness when they're following instructions from their GPS device. In harsh climates like Death Valley, it literally kills people on a semi-regular basis. They end up on closed, unmaintained roads that lead them deep into the desert. Some never come back.

Commercial vs personal devices

Trucks do require a commercial driving license (like buses, etc.) and their drivers are supposed to use commerical GPS's or commercial route maps; generally it's required by their insurers.

However, many operations don't equip their trucks, so the drivers repurpose a portable device (think Garmin or TomTom).

Commercial GPS's use vehicle height and length (or turn radius) to pick safe routes, avoiding low overhangs and turns your vehicle can't possibly make. Portable personal GPS's don't have that capability.

And here we are on Storrow or Mem Drives, yet again, waiting for the Staties to back this bozo up.

in the British Isles

there are lots and lots of old villages with streets that are barely wide enough for oxcarts. They make the North End look like it's full of broad boulevards. There's a real problem with truck drivers blindly following GPS navigation units and being unable to follow the roads as they turn through the centers of these old villages. Several places have had to put up signs warning drivers.

Deja Vu

No apologies needed. Roughly last week we had the same type of post and so far, we're getting the exact same comments - including that link, but evidently we have short memory or new group of people every-time. My favorite comments was by a commentator named Elmer. He should just copy and past his exact post again.

Nothing Wrong with that

I meant the short memory as in general, not as in to you. A semi-humorous quip that we are repeating the same lines over again.

That's why I said "No apologies needed" though rereading my own comment now that I came off as attacking you when I said short memory.

What happened to the chains?

Not that long ago - and perhaps still in some places on Storrow Dr - every entrance had a bar over the top that not only warned of the height restriction, but also had chains hanging down to the level of the height restriction so that they would hit the top of any vehicle too high to get under the bridges. Why can't the DPW/State/MDC just put those back in? Perhaps the answer is that they too were ignored, impossible as that seems to me. Hopefully this will get the DPW/State/MDCs attention, as moving trucks getting chopped up are one thing, but a tanker opening up and potentially incinerating people and infrastructure is another. Regardless, any "professional" driver who gets on Storrow should have their license to operate a truck/bus revoked. That is absolutely inexcusable.

Does NYC have this many

Does NYC have this many incidents involving their parkway system? I know I used to hear about incidents of "misplaced trucks" occasionally on the radio, but not to the degree that it seems to happen on Storrow Drive.

New tactic

Why don't we stop dicking around with rubber flaps and cowbells? Let's put up a solidly constructed crossing beam at the maximum height allowed at the ramps? All of them...all entrances would get a solid "screw you and the top of the truck you rode in on" bar to ram and stop you at the on-ramps.

At least then, the exit is closed for the requisite clean-up instead of half of the main road.

Question -

when a truck has an "oh shit" moment such as this, what is the procedure for getting it off of Storrow? Do they have to reverse all the way to the nearest on-ramp, and then go against traffic up that too?