Removing a truck, stuck on Storrow Drive (Boston), under low bridge

Every year, a few trucks (usually moving trucks around college move in time) get stuck under many of the low bridges and overpasses on roads like Storrow Drive.

My question: How do they get them out? It’s a divided road, with lots of traffic.

When one gets stuck, and all the poor fools are stuck watching the moron, what do the authorities do?

I heard of another case on the traffic report a few days ago, and it got me thinking…

(For a lifelong MA/NH resident, you’d think I’d know this, but I try to avoid downtown Boston as much as I can)

I thought you were supposed to let the air out of the tires until it was low enough to continue.

Let’s say it’s 3 feet too big. 2 feet after the air is removed.

Should have thought of that answer.

If it’s 3 feet too big, I don’t think it would have gone far enough under the bridge to get stuck. It would have just smacked the side of the bridge and demolished the front end of the trailer.

Well, if the truck is 2 feet taller than the bridge and is still stuck, then you no longer have to worry about damaging it during the removal process, because it’s now a pickup. So, I imagine they either just yank it out with a tow truck or, if they’re worried about the bridge integrity, they break out the cutting tools.

How about adding a lot of weight inside the trailer to compress the suspension? Might buy you some extra inches. That combined with deflating the tires would help if you got stuck, but if we’re talking about 2-3 feet of height discrepancy that got jammed under at 50mph I think it’s time for the cutting tools.

Whatever made in under the overpass has now made that truck only a inch or so too big (at least the part that made in under), so deflate the tires 2 inches and use that reverse gear.

Same thing happens all the time in the Bronx at the intersection of Westchester Ave and Castle Hill Ave. {Link rather annoyingly only works with Internet Explorer. Go to the “slide” named “View from Northwest Corner”}

Castle Hill Ave ascends a hill (naturally) which appears to reach its peak before Westchester, but it’s actually still rising until smack-dab in the middle of Westchester Ave. Which happens to have the elevated number 6 train Castle Hill station suspended directly above it.
Truck driver ignores the clearance warning, fits easily under the #6 train. Cab of truck passes crest and starts downhill. Trailer’s rear end is still ascending the hill and as the front of the trailer dips down to follow the cab, the back end rises. G-rr-rrrrun-nnddge.

And yes, they let the air out of the tires. It takes a while.

Most modern trucks have air suspensions that adjust to maintain (roughly) the same ride hight no matter what the load. Some trucks can empty the air suspension to gain 6" or so, but usually only in the tractor.

I have a memory from when I was a kid of seeing a truck come out from under one of the Storrow Drive underpasses with the top couple inches peeled off and dragging along the road behind it. I suppose that’s one way of making it through…

I was driving to work one day a few years ago, following a semi with a tall shipping container on the back. We were about to go under a railway brisge, and either I could see that there was sufficient room for the truck and load, or it didn’t occur to me there might not be, but the driver had obviously forgotten the height of the load and slammed on the brakes at the last minute, with me flying up his arse in my car. I stopped in time (just). He got out, had a look, got back in, and drove under the bridge and away. K’n bozo.

As for the letting the tyres down thing, isn’t that supposed to happen only after several hours of the truckers scratching their heads, and then a little boy (of the loveable but streetwise urchin variety) rides past on a bicycle, and says, “hey, mistah, why don’t you just let the air out of the tyres?”, and the red-faced truckers give him a shilling, or twenty dollars, or whatever depending on the location and decade of this story? I know of at least two bridges where this urban myth happened. No, really.

I actually saw the aftermath of one of these fuckups on Storrow Drive last year. It was previously a Budget rental truck, but was missing the top, replete with the occupants’ junk on the side of the road. That had to feel really, really dumb.

Yup, the first thing I thought of when I saw the thread title was a story from one of those “boys’ stories” anthologies featuring English or American boy scouts fighting Nazi’s/Commies/Martians.

I’ve seen the aftermath too: on Ponce De Leon in Atlanta, east of Little FIve where the road passes under an old arched railroad bridge. There’s lots of signs telling truckers to move to the inside lanes (the outside lanes only have maybe 10’ of clearance) but this guy didn’t. The entire outside corner of the trailer was peeked back like flimsy tinfoil and he had stopped (or was forced to stop) about halfway down the trailer. There’s no way that truck was driven out. I’m sure they must have disconteced the cab and then towed the trailer out backwards.

Something similar happened at a hotel I worked at when I was in college. They were renovating the rooms and a truck with loads of carpet pulled into the lower level of our two-level parking lot. It just barely made it under the overhang at the entrance by about an inch. Well, after they unloaded the truck, it’s suspension was no longer compressed by the weight of the carpet and now it was a couple of inches too tall to get out. I suggested letting the air out of the tires but the driver rejected that, saying it would ruin them. They ended up loading all the carpet back into the truck, then unloading again after the truck pulled out and parked on the street.