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Truck Strikes RR Bridge, Closes Flourtown Road

Second time the bridge has been struck this month.

For the second time in December, a truck has crashed into the railroad bridge that crosses Flourtown Road near its intersection with Butler Pike, and has closed down the roadway.

A reader-submitted photo on Patch's Facebook page shows what appears to be a Weis Markets delivery truck flipped onto its driver side, with debris strewn about. A Whitemarsh Police dispatcher said that it was the only vehicle involved in the accident, and that there were no reported injuries.

The accident occurred at about 6:45 a.m. Thursday morning, and the road remained closed in both directions, from Butler Pike to Colonial Drive, into the afternoon. The bridge is about one-fifth of a mile east of Butler Pike.

A similar incident occurred on December 3, when a tractor-trailer collided with the bridge.

"This has to be the third or fourth accident of this kind in as many months," wrote one reader. "Perhaps the township should post a sign to try and eliminate this from happening."

On both sides of the bridge are signs posting the clearance as 11 feet, 9 inches. Whitemarsh chief of police Michael Beaty told Patch that the signage meets all PennDOT regualtions.

"It's more than what would be at any other bridge or underpass," Beaty said. "Unfortunately, we have a lot of drivers that just aren't paying attention, or are looking at their GPS, or are otherwise distracted."

However, Beaty says the township is working with Norfolk Southern, who owns the bridge, on ways of increasing signage further.

"We're trying to address it and make it better, and hopefully a few extra signs will help, but it won't prevent it one hundred percent," Beaty said.

Patch left a message with the Whitemarsh Township Public Works department Thursday morning to inquire about the possibility of placing signs on Flourtown Road approaching the bridge, but did not receive a response.

Jack Cohen December 21, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Do you think that maybe there is an issue here? This happens A LOT. Do we need a tragedy to try and figure out a solution?
K. Delaney December 21, 2012 at 05:31 AM
A tragedy has occurred: From The Times Herald - Posted: 11/22/02 12:01 am TWO KILLLED IN CONCRETE TRUCK CRASH Gordon Glantz The deadly accident occurred on Flourtown Road at a railroad bridge used by the Norfolk-Southern. Two others, the driver of the truck and a female teen in the vehicle, a Chevrolet station wagon, suffered injuries and were transported by Whitemarsh ambulance to area hospitals. The female teen was listed in stable condition Thursday afternoon at Mercy Suburban Hospital in East Norriton. The driver, taken to the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, was also in stable condition, according to police. According to reports, the red concrete truck from the DePaul Concrete Co. was traveling east on Flourtown Road, near the intersection of Butler Pike, and was "too high" for the bridge, causing the truck to "fall over." The truck then hit the westbound car occupied by the victims and the teen, according to police. DePaul Concrete released the following statement: "We are very upset by this accident, the injuries and the loss of life. Our sympathies go out to the families affected by this tragedy. We are cooperating fully with, and participating in, the investigation to determine why this accident occurred. At this time, we really do not know enough to comment any further." Flourtown Road between Butler Pike and Joshua Road remained closed for more than five hours as the scene was processed and the crash was reconstructed.
K. Delaney December 21, 2012 at 05:44 AM
Continued: According to police, a "long and involved" investigation has commenced, headed by Officers David Schanes and Greg S. Keenan, and its outcome may take several weeks. Placed under the microscope of investigators will be the events leading up to the collision, although preliminary indications are that the crash was a case of bad timing with dire consequences. The bodies of the two victims were taken to the county coroner for autopsy. The names are being withheld until family can be notified. According to police, the women are from the Whitemarsh-Conshohocken area, and their names will be released Friday. Preliminary indications are that the women were killed on impact, although verification will come after the results of the autopsies are released. The Barren Hill Fire Co. responded to the scene. Police say train service on the freight line was expected to resume pending an inspection of the bridge.
joanne mamrosch December 21, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Do we really need to have trucks use this road? I am sure that there is an alternative. Posting clearance heights is not working. So don't you think it is time to stop trucks from using the roadway.How simple is that!
Chris Donati December 21, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Mr. Beaty Chief of police states that the signage warning of the low bridge is placed according to PennDot regulations. That tells me alot. Note that when you're driving towards that bridge going west on Flourtown Road towards Butler Pike, there are 2 large visible signs warning of the 11' 9" clearance. BUT, by the time you get to the first sign it's too late to turn around! The only thing a tractor trailer could do at that point is a) back up on a one lane road (that's really smart), or 2) try to make it under the bridge. I think PennDot needs to think their warning sign posting policies. Idiots! Tax dollars hard at work.

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