PROSPECT PARK, Pa. (mocobiz) – On January 4th, while Salvatore Mini was working, his store’s surveillance camera recorded a tractor-trailer colliding with the railroad bridge.
Mini Reef, an aquarium store located at the intersection of Route 420 and Maryland Avenue in Prospect Park, is owned by Mini. Mini described the hit as impressive, with a loud bang that shook the entire building.
The driver managed to reverse, but the collision resulted in the top of the truck being torn off. As a consequence, the road had to be closed for two hours, causing inconvenience for Mini’s store customers who found it challenging to reach the location. These disruptions in traffic resulted in a loss of sales for the store, which can accumulate over time.
“It’s painful. I mean, as a small business, we rely on every single customer who steps through that door,” Mini expressed. “So even if I were to lose just one sale, the impact would be palpable.”
The borough of Prospect Park is currently grappling with a long-standing issue of oversized trucks colliding with the railroad bridge. This problem not only poses challenges for drivers but also disrupts the smooth operation of Amtrak, inconveniencing its passengers.
According to Prospect Park Police Chief Dave Madonna, there have been a total of 21 incidents of bridge strikes in the past two years, even though there are clear signs indicating a clearance of 12 feet 6 inches.
According to Madonna, in most cases, the drivers who ignore or are unaware of the sign’s message are usually truckers who are either not paying attention or do not know the exact height of their vehicle.
The drivers are cited by the police for not obeying the signs. Subsequently, the trucking company receives a bill from Amtrak, the owner of the bridge, for the costs of repairs and the resulting delays on the Northeast corridor.
Mini expressed concern that unless measures are taken to designate the street as a no-truck zone or implement clear indicators, trucks will continue to use the street.
According to a statement from PennDOT, Amtrak has the potential to collaborate with the local municipality in order to implement a warning system that would effectively safeguard their bridge structure and prevent any significant damage.
Amtrak stated that the responsibility for warning signs and system upgrades lies with the road owner, not the railroad. “This issue involves the collaboration of federal, state, and local officials. We cannot address it single-handedly. Madonna believes that all these stakeholders should come together and work towards finding a solution,” Madonna stated.
The King of Prussia Bridge in Radnor is facing a similar issue, as it has a clearance of only 10 feet 10 inches. The township is currently in the process of installing a hanging metal sign in front of the bridge. This sign will serve as a warning to truck drivers, alerting them to stop and turn around if they happen to hit it.
Other types of warning systems are available, such as infrared beams that can transmit a wireless signal. These beams activate flashing lights to notify drivers that their truck exceeds the height limit. Residents of Prospect Park hold the belief that either of these options would be effective.
“We’re all small businesses here on the street,” Mini explained. “Therefore, it impacts each and every one of us,” Mini emphasized.