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Spokane installs ‘warning chimes’ as low-tech solution to low bridges


A series of ‘warning chimes’ have been installed at a low bridge in Washington in hopes that the musical warning will prevent drivers from getting stuck. 

The warning chimes were installed earlier this year in front of the Division Street Railroad bridge in Spokane, Washington as part of a summer project by the City of Spokane. The project was inspired by a similar system in San Antonio, Texas. 

According to KREM 2 News, the city had already installed sensors that flashed lights to warn drivers if they were over-height several years ago, but drivers kept getting stuck, so the city decided to try a new, less high-tech approach. These chimes are hung at a specific height ahead of the bridge and sit silently when unused. However, if a truck is too tall to pass beneath the bridge, the rig will strike the chimes, prompting the chime sound and indicating that they should not attempt to pass beneath the bridge. 

“The goal here is to avoid having over height vehicles strike the bridge. We have tried other approaches, but still have challenges so we decided to try something new,” said City of Spokane spokesperson, Marlene Feist. 

Just last week, another semi truck got stuck beneath a bridge in Spokane, so officials are hoping the newly installed chimes will be more effective at warning drivers than the previous $30,000 a piece sensor system.


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