MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A cement truck driver is thankful to be alive after he ran into a Maury County railroad bridge.
The collision was so violent, the truck was destroyed and the bridge shifted 10 inches.
The crash happened early Tuesday morning on Carter’s Creek Pike near Dark Mills Road.
The truck is 13 feet 4 inches high, and the bridge is 10 feet 10 inches high.
A witness made the following call to 911:
“There’s a concrete truck that just smashed a bridge and he’s stuck, but he is ok, no injuries, and there is gas everywhere, a bunch on the ground already.”
Emergency responders told News 2 the truck was empty, which reduced weight, and probably saved the 46-year-old driver’s life.
The truck was totaled and the wreck caused an environmental mess.
“We still have to have a contractor come out and dig up some of that contaminated dirt,” explained Mark Blackwood, the Director of Maury County Emergency Management Agency.
Perhaps most astounding, the old railroad bridge was pushed sideways 10 inches.
“Obviously, a 10-inch misalignment of the rails could be devastating if a train should try and cross that,” said Blackwood. “They brought out a big crane out and lift one end and jack the bridge back into position, anchored it back, and move to the other end and do the same thing. This is a heavily traveled roadway in the morning, people coming from franklin to Columbia. Someone could die here that’s our biggest fear. That someone is going to die.”
According to Columbia police, there have been eight wrecks at this bridge since 2014.
Rescue crews say that’s only the accidents that have been reported.
“Because people will drive off, they leave all the debris. We get reports of debris, we clean the debris and never know who did it,” Blackwood told News 2.
So what can be done?
Maury County emergency crews have tried hard to get drivers to pay attention.
There are signs on both sides of the bridge that blink. Since raising the railroad bridge is not an option, the only other plan is to possibly install hazard lights on the bridge itself to warn vehicles to be careful.
CSX owns the railroad bridge. It says to raise the bridge the company would have to start changing the grade of the track a mile back, which is not possible.
The railroad told News 2 it’s willing to sit down with Maury County leaders and Tennessee Department of Transportation to discuss safety options.