Usually, it's the 21st St underpass off Montana Ave that gets hit by too-tall vehicles attempting to navigate under the low, 8 foot clearance bridge. That poor bridge seems to get hit at least once a year, usually by someone in a camper. This morning (8/9) it was the underpass to the east, at N 13th St, that suffered minor damage when a roll-off dump truck apparently failed to lower it's hydraulic tilt bed before driving underneath. No one was injured in the incident and KULR 8 reported there was no structural damage to the train bridge.

Photo by Elyssa Leininger, used with permission

Local artist Elyssa Leininger is currently painting a mural at the  N 13th St underpass and she told us she heard and felt the loud crash at approximately 9 am, as she was preparing for another day of painting. Leininger said the impact was quite loud and that one of the trucks axles was nearly folded in half from the force of the impact. You can also see in the photo below (R) that the boom frame nearly snapped in half.

Photos by Elyssa Leininger, used with permission

Thankfully, it didn't happen at significant speed, like those seen in the "I-can't-help-but-watch" montage of trucks hitting bridges.

According to the low bridge seen above has been hit over 100 times. Federal guidelines recommend underpasses have a minimum clearance of 14 feet. In Montana, there are number of low-clearance underpasses. The RV website Member Coach has a list of all states and they note 9 bridges/underpasses with only 13 or 14 foot clearance in Montana. Their list is only for state highways, and many city streets may have lower clearance, such as the 21st St bridge in Billings.

The Montana Department of Transportation offers a database of all state-maintained bridges HERE, that include clearance height, weight limits and other information. The safest bet for tall vehicles is to know your height and read the clearance signs.

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