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Harney's Killer Bridge

Harney's Killer Bridge

Just west of the Carrol County town of Harney and just south of the Pennsylvania line, there is a steel bridge on Harney Road/Conover Road that crosses Marsh Creek.  Although there are a lot of rides in this area, few go over this bridge -- for good reason.  I was just wandering in the area earlier this year when I attempted to ride over the bridge -- and instantly crashed.
Although it LOOKS like a normal steel grate bridge, it is NOT.  The unique design of the bridge produces the same result as dropping your front wheel into an open storm grate.  There is sign that advises caution, but it is totally inadequate.  Do NOT, under any circumstances and at any speed, attempt to ride over this bridge.
I spoke with the local fire chief (who arranged for the ambulance to convey me to the Sinai Intensive Care Unit after the crash) and he said that it is not unusual for riders to crash on this bridge, which, he said, was made in Georgia.  It is not like any other steel bridge I have crossed in 40 years of riding.
I plan to write the county and express my concerns about this bridge, so if you have had an experience with it, I'd like to hear from you.  I know three other riders who have crashed on this bridge.
Thanks and be careful out there,
Greg Conderacci
gc@goggc.com./443 756 8213

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Re: Harney's Killer Bridge

Greg

I led a ride earlier this year that had to take this bridge because of a bridge further down the Monacy being closed for painting. I had it in the cue library under the name "Thurmont Detours."  I did not fall on that bridge you are talking about but really, really hated it. Some of the group walked their bikes across the bridge. I have removed the cue from the Cue library and will shortly replace it with the version of the ride that does not use this terrible bridge as a detour.

I do not know if there are other cues in the cue library that go over this bridge.

ed

Ed Hopkins
ed.hopkins@verizon.net

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Re: Harney's Killer Bridge

Sorry to hear about your crash.  Mark Tabb & I scouted the Red Rum many years ago and the Harney bridge was originally on the ride created based upon ADC maps.  However, Mark & I both walked it and decided it was unsafe for any cyclist.  I recall hearing that other cyclists have similar fates to your when trying to cross the bridge.  Speedy recovery!

Jim Guild feltb2@yahoo.com

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Re: Harney's Killer Bridge

I also crashed on this bridge -- in 2001; I felt like I was on ice with zero traction I did Ed Hopkin's ride last month over the bridge and did not crash.  The grating looked different than I remember from 2001. I did ride much more slowly last month than I did in 2001 when I hit the bridge at 20+ mph. But I agree with Ed H.; the surface feels worse than most of the open grate bridges. I would avoid routing any club rides over this bridge.
Ed Cahill

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Re: Harney's Killer Bridge

Yeah, the bridge is bad enough when coming from the west, where the approach is a slight uphill. (That was how it got me.) It is absolutely fatal from the east, where it is at the bottom of a fairly steep hill.  (I know that's how it's got others.)  It's not like a simple road hazard (e.g. pothole or crack), that you can see and know should be avoided.  The bridge looks just like a regular metal grate bridge and you can't just go around it.

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Re: Harney's Killer Bridge

I'm 4 weeks into recovery after my training partner and I both had a nasty crash on this bridge. He got 40+ stitches around his eye, 12 in his knee, and broke a finger.  I tore my left tricep, broke my elbow, and broke my hand (all required surgery) plus minor breaks in fingers on my right hand, and some nasty road rash.   

'm trying to get a sense of whether Frederick or Carroll counties were aware of this nasty bridge. Please let me know if you've had an accident on this bridge and if you reported it. I'd like to do what I can so this doesn't happen to anyone else.

Angela James
443-340-9470
aj101376@gmail.com

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Re: Harney's Killer Bridge

Sorry to hear about the injuries to you and your partner have suffered.  I have not crashed on this bridge, but am aware how dangderous it is.  I was cycling on Harney Road earlier this year traveling east and knew I needed to walk the bridge.  This is easier to spot than traveling to the west which as Greg noted above has a steep  and curved descent which make it extremely dangerous.  Walking it is also scary.

The bridge as configured needs warning signs on each side warning cyclists of the danger involved in crossing.

This is a terrible bridge for cyclists and probably runners.

Jim Guild feltb2@yahoo.com

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Re: Harney's Killer Bridge

Thanks, Jim. I was able to get a new sign 650 feet (instead of 110) before the bridge heading west. The problem I'm running into is proving that the county knew there was a problem b/c even though we know there have been accidents, they weren't reported to the county. If I can demonstrate knowledge, I have a better chance of getting more than a sign change (like a bridge surface change).  I'll keep searching...thanks!

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Re: Harney's Killer Bridge

One of the bridge's victims above is Ed Chill who is the club president.  I do not know whether his accident was reported to either county or not.  I know he is on a cycling vacation this week so he is probably not checking the forum here, but he should be back next week.

The original poster is Greg Conderacci and it sounds like he needed an ambulance to take him for urgent care.  I think Ed or others in the club can reach out to Greg for some feedback from him.

Jim Guild feltb2@yahoo.com

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Re: Harney's Killer Bridge

Thanks, Jim! I've been in touch with Greg. Have also tried Ed, just haven't heard from him yet.

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