Rocks Village Bridge closed indefinitely | News

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WEST NEWBURY — The Rocks Village Bridge, a vital link between West Newbury and Haverhill, will be closed for the foreseeable future until damage caused by a tractor trailer truck is inspected and repaired, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. 

The announcement came late Thursday afternoon hours after the oversized truck struck the bridge on the West Newbury side of the Merrimack River. 

West Newbury police Chief Jeffrey Durand said the driver was issued a citation for marked lanes and height restriction violations. 

It was only approximately two years ago that MassDOT made repairs to the swing bridge after two bridge strikes in July 2019, and January 2020. Those repairs took about six weeks and resulted in the bridge’s closure for about three weeks between May and June 2020. The bridge underwent major repairs in 2013 unrelated to bridge strikes. 

In 2018, a box truck lost its roof when it scraped the steel top of the bridge. Since the bridge reopened in 2013 after major renovations, several trucks haven’t driven over it without striking the top.

The bridge, built in 1883 and refurbished in 1913, spans the Merrimack River and is 812 feet long. Its main span is 192 feet long and it has a 24-foot-wide roadway, according to state records.

Following Thursday’s crash, MassDOT conducted an initial inspection of the portion of the bridge where the impact occurred and said there was “significant damage to several key structural components.”

“The bridge will remain fully closed to vehicular and marine traffic pending completion of a comprehensive inspection, including areas on the underside of the structure, to evaluate and confirm the full extent of the damage. The bridge will not reopen throughout the duration of the design and implementation of a corrective action plan,” MassDOT said in a press release. 

The bridge is normally closed to marine traffic through Memorial Day, so no immediate marine impacts are expected.

More details will be announced regarding the traffic impacts of this incident and long-term detours when they are known.

For more information on traffic conditions, travelers are also encouraged to dial 511 and select a route to hear real–time conditions; visit www.mass511.com, for real-time traffic and incident advisory information and subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions; follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions; or download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions.

Dave Rogers is a reporter with the Daily News of Newburyport. Email him at: drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008. 

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