Powell, Tenn. (WATE) – A low-hanging railroad bridge on Central Avenue Pike at Irwin Drive in Powell has been the site of multiple accidents in recent months, Knoxville Police records show.
The bridge has a clearance of 11 ft. 11 inches, too short for most large trucks and trailers. There are multiple signs stating the clearance of the bridge, yet the accidents persist.
The Knoxville Police Department crash records from the location for the past six months show four reports of incidents where trucks or trailers struck the bridge when attempting to pass under it.
The most recent of these accidents occurred on January 19 at around 10 a.m. Other accidents were reported on November 19 at 3 p.m. again at 8:45 p.m. and October 5 at 2:25 p.m.
Powell locals have referred to the bridge as the, “can opener” and share how many accidents they have seen recently on social media
When asked why the bridge was built so low Brad Warren, Chief Operations Engineer of Knox County Engineering & Public Works, said the bridge was built very long ago when the clearance level for bridges was much lower.
According to Warren, current clearance level standards for bridges is 14 ft. This bridge is 11 ft., 11 in. There are signs posted on the road leading to the bridge giving warning of the low clearance, but the accidents have not stopped.
“It depends on several different factors, such as: the cost of fixing the bridge, the number of accidents, and how bad the accidents are,” said Warren when asked why the bridge has not been fixed. “It also depends on if it’s a high or low traffic road. If the traffic is low it is not a huge concern.”