Olathe bridge takes another hit from truck driver Thursday morning

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 6:51 PM CDT
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OLATHE, Kan. (KCTV) - An infamous bridge in Olathe has taken another hit by a truck driver who didn’t quite make the clearing Thursday morning.

Spruce Street near N. Kansas Avenue was closed in both directions for roughly two hours as repairs were made.

“It happens more often than it should,” said Sergeant John Moncayo with the Olathe Police Department.

Moncayo said from 2006 to this year, there have been over 30 truck drivers who thought they could make it but didn’t. “For those that are driving bigger trucks, I would remind them to know the imitations; that way, when they are going through cities, especially like Olathe, knowing they can’t come down Spruce Street,” Moncayo said.

The most recent, outside of Thursday morning’s crash, happened in July and then another time late last year, even though there are plenty of warning signs.

“If trucks get within a certain zone in this area, there are some alarms that will go off, loud enough for them to hear it,” Moncayo said. “We also have flashing lights that will caution them about the low bridge along with pretty decently sized signs that show the 11 foot 4 inches height limitation.”

Cody Kennedy with the City of Olathe said the bridge was built back in 1950 and is owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.

“Working with BNSF railroad, you have to ensure where the traveling public cross, where pedestrians may cross, that there is ample signage, that there’s enough slope to get over the railroad, or enough room to get under the railroad,” Kennedy said. “So, that’s something that we’ve been in constant communication with the railroad.”

Some residents, like Nathan Harrell, said the bridge is a bit concerning.

“I think it’s an important bridge, but it maybe needs to fit a new set of standards,” Harrell said.

The Independence Avenue Bridge is another place known for swallowing trucks; this one is 12 feet tall and has been hit nearly 40 times in the last three years.

“This is Olathe’s own independent bridge,” Kennedy said. “As it stands, the Spruce Street bridge is undefeated.”

Kennedy said they just unveiled a mural at the Community Center Wednesday night, and the bridge is featured.