The Norfolk Southern–Gregson Street Overpass is commonly known as the 11-foot-8 Bridge and... The Can Opener. But more on that later. This railroad bridge in Durham, North Carolina, was built in 1940 and allows passenger and freight trains to cross over South Gregson Street in downtown Durham and like its first nickname suggests, its clearance for vehicles was 11 feet 8 inches (3.56 m). This was a standard height at the time it opened. But the standard clearance since 1973 has a minimum height of 14 feet (4.27 m).

Despite numerous warning signs yelling just how low the clearance of this bridge was, a large number of trucks, buses, and RVs have collided with the overpass at high speed, tearing off roof fixtures, and at times shearing off the trucks' roofs. That's what earned the bridge its second nickname, The Can Opener. Some people even call it the "Gregson Street Guillotine". In October 2019, the North Carolina Railroad Company, which owns the bridge and tracks, raised the bridge by 8 inches (0.2 m) to 12 feet 4 inches (3.76 m) to reduce collisions.

The bridge gained fame in 2008, when a nearby office worker, Jürgen Henn, set up cameras to track the collisions with the bridge. As of October 2020, Henn has recorded over 150 accidents, and has a YouTube channel to showcase them. His project even expanded to other Internet platforms. Thus, the subreddit r/11foot8 was born.

Eventually, however, the subreddit evolved—it now features vehicles colliding with structures all over the world. Here are some of its top posts.

#1

Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety

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engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
2 months ago

Truck: weeeeeeeeeeee *pop*

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Bored Panda got in touch with the moderators of the subreddit and Loonling was happy to share their thoughts. Since they have seen so many photos of drivers overestimating the clearance of a bridge, we asked why do they think this is. "My suspicion is that most of us are complacent in our day-to-day life," Loonling said. "The modern world is safe and secure. We go about our days assuming the stoplights are going to work; that the road will be relatively free of potholes; the bridge will support our vehicle. For many, it does not enter in their thoughts that a trestle is a threat."

#2

Irony?

Irony?

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Rowlie
Community Member
2 months ago

There are roadblocks on the way, however

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"Sure there's signage. Sure there's a flashing light. But, they're so wrapped up in the comfort and security of the modern road that they're not even really thinking about the fact that they're an exception to the rule. So, when the light flashes "oversize" (or whatever), while they may see it, it doesn't instantly seem applicable to them. How could it? They made it this far without incident. I think it's just a problem of the danger the bridge is to their situation just doesn't filter down to their monkey brain that's been lulled into complacency."

#3

Thought This Fit Well Here

Thought This Fit Well Here

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karla Meixnerová
Community Member
2 months ago

We don't...

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Since the subreddit has expanded and welcomes photos from all over the world now, it's only appropriate to mention a few infamous bridges that are opening some high-speed cans as well. The moderator said there's a huge number of them; they can't even keep track. The members of the subreddit keep finding them. "I think 2 other bridges are well known [in particular]. These two also have Reddit communities and an active fan club. r/3rdandWinklervsTrucks and r/thecanopener. 4 years ago, these two subs were larger than r/11foot8. But, I think they lack the 24/7 camera feed and the great marketing that Jurgen has put together for the [Durham bridge]."

#4

New Mini Golf In Durham Honors It's Famous 11'8" Bridge

New Mini Golf In Durham Honors It's Famous 11'8" Bridge

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Serial pacifist
Community Member
2 months ago

Love the peel-a-truck logo

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"In the fall of 2016, I noticed that r/11foot8 was not being actively moderated. At the time, there were fewer than 100 members. But, I knew of the bridge from the YouTube channel, and had been sharing the videos with my young children for a couple of years. They enjoyed the chaos and destruction as these huge trucks would crash into this immoveable bridge. It was great family entertainment for us. And as an avid collector of Reddit subscriptions, I keep a running list of subreddits I discover that are unmoderated or under-moderated. If I feel inclined, and the admins are kind enough to assign ownership to me, I jump in to rid the sub of spam, trolls, and try to build up a subreddit that represents the type of content I'd like to see. So, as I said, I took the sub over in September 2016 and at the time felt that a [community of 500 members] was probably achievable."

#5

You See What Happens When You Rush To Be In Somebody Else's Business

You See What Happens When You Rush To Be In Somebody Else's Business

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Serial pacifist
Community Member
2 months ago

"Breaking news" - news broken *check*

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Now, there are over 80,000 of them. From day 1 of Loonling's involvement, the subreddit has always welcomed similar bridges. And the moderator thinks maybe that's what has made it a bit more successful compared to the two others mentioned earlier. "I felt that relying exclusively on videos from the Durham bridge was too limiting."

"I hope our members feel a sense of community, but frankly, I don't think it's here," Loonling said. "People subscribe because of Jurgen. He does such a great job providing great videos, capturing the collision from the moments leading up to impact to the resolution. And getting it from two different angles!"

#6

Hungry Bridge In Enid, Oklahoma

Hungry Bridge In Enid, Oklahoma

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engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
2 months ago

Bridge: me hungry, me need food.

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#7

I Too Take The Top Off My Oreos Before I Eat Them

I Too Take The Top Off My Oreos Before I Eat Them

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Rowlie
Community Member
2 months ago

Oh no, not Oreo!

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#8

VW Crash

VW Crash

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engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
2 months ago

Welp, guess even Beetle cars can't escape from being squashed

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#9

Delivering A Bridge

Delivering A Bridge

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Falcon
Community Member
2 months ago

looking at the marks - they weren't the first xD

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#10

Gotta Get The Packages Onboard As Quickly As Possible!

Gotta Get The Packages Onboard As Quickly As Possible!

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
2 months ago

This looks expensive.

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#11

What Makes It Funnier Is That This Isn’t Even The Route The Bus Is Meant To Take

What Makes It Funnier Is That This Isn’t Even The Route The Bus Is Meant To Take

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Rowlie
Community Member
2 months ago

Obviously this is not the correct route

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#12

Found On Street View

Found On Street View

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Serial pacifist
Community Member
2 months ago

Unpacked

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#13

He Made It All The Way Through

He Made It All The Way Through

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joe
Community Member
2 months ago

Apparently, the truck was designed to carry sardines.

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#14

U Are Stuck

U Are Stuck

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engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
2 months ago

To be fair, there was a sign that says that so he has no excuses

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#15

Meanwhile In Chicago

Meanwhile In Chicago

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engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
2 months ago

Big F for these cars

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#16

Pretty Effective Bridge Protection!

Pretty Effective Bridge Protection!

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Vic
Community Member
2 months ago

This is a really good, we have these at some tunnels..

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#17

I Work For FedEx. One Of Our Trucks Came In Like This

I Work For FedEx. One Of Our Trucks Came In Like This

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ƒιѕн
Community Member
2 months ago

And brought the evidence with them

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#18

When You Take The Bridge With

When You Take The Bridge With

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engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
2 months ago

That's one strong truck or one seriously weak bridge

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#19

I Don’t Understand People. “Oh This Truck Is About To Hit That Sign, Let Me Just Continue Follow Him”

I Don’t Understand People. “Oh This Truck Is About To Hit That Sign, Let Me Just Continue Follow Him”

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engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Like a popular gaming reviewer once said: "WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!?!?!?"

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#20

If The Bridge It Is Too Low, You Don't Have To Take It Slow. Lay The Truck Down On The Side, Underneath The Bridge You'll Slide

If The Bridge It Is Too Low, You Don't Have To Take It Slow. Lay The Truck Down On The Side, Underneath The Bridge You'll Slide

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MrTree1779
Community Member
2 months ago

"If the bridge is TOO low", not "If the bridge is TO low". Doesn't anyone proofread s**t anymore?

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#21

11foot8 In Indianapolis. Truck Was Full Of Cream Cheese

11foot8 In Indianapolis. Truck Was Full Of Cream Cheese

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engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Now that's such a chessy news story

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#22

I Fought The Bridge And The Bridge Won

I Fought The Bridge And The Bridge Won

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Tabitha L
Community Member
2 months ago

What the ....?

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#23

Fail

Fail

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engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
2 months ago

Oh yes, it could!

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#24

Square Peg In A Round Hole

Square Peg In A Round Hole

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rgr8
Community Member
2 months ago

I feel like you could probably back out of this one

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#25

The Biggest Oof I’ve Ever Seen!

The Biggest Oof I’ve Ever Seen!

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engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
2 months ago

Just curious but what is this thing that the truck dropped?

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#26

This Low Overpass Knocked The Streetview Camera Off Its Mount

This Low Overpass Knocked The Streetview Camera Off Its Mount

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engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
2 months ago

First photo: Top 10 Photos taken before disasters

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#27

Scalped! A Whole Level Beyond Can Opener!

Scalped! A Whole Level Beyond Can Opener!

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Petra Schaap
Community Member
2 months ago

I'm not really surprised to see its a Flixbus :-)

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#28

“No Pictures! Don’t Laugh!”

“No Pictures! Don’t Laugh!”

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engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
2 months ago

Open the box to reveal a prize

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#29

Well Known Can Opener In Kansas City, MO

Well Known Can Opener In Kansas City, MO

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Hooman
Community Member
2 months ago

Just.... how?

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#30

Brand New Jeep

Brand New Jeep

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engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
2 months ago

I flinched at the site of this

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Note: this post originally had 66 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.

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