Another truck slams into downtown Northampton bridge

  • A silver tractor-trailer truck, at right, drove into the bridge that runs across Bridge Street in downtown Northampton. STAFF WRITER/BERA DUNAU​​

Staff Writer
Published: 7/8/2019 4:29:56 PM

NORTHAMPTON – The city’s notorious “truck-eating bridge” claimed another victim on Monday.

The railroad bridge, which crosses over Bridge Street, has been hit annually by vehicles over the years, despite signs that warn of the bridge’s low clearance.

The latest strike occurred Monday afternoon. Police were called to the scene at 12:24 p.m., after a tractor-trailer truck struck the bridge and became wedged underneath it.

Part of the truck’s pharynx had to be cut away so that the truck could back away from the overpass.

“As far as bridge hits go, this is about as simple as it gets,” said Jim Jackewich, of Red’s Towing, who cut the truck free.

Jackewich said that this is the second time he’s responded to a vehicle striking the bridge this year.

Police say that the strike damaged some of the artwork on the bridge, that no one was injured, and that the driver was issued a traffic citation for failure to obey the traffic law for the bridge underpass. The driver declined to comment at the scene.

In June, the Gazette reported that the bridge had been struck 37 times since 2009, and that there have been 162 vehicles assisted by police in turning away from the bridge during that period.

The crash on Monday was the second time a truck struck the bridge in less than a month. A tractor-trailer traveling southwest on Bridge Street hit the railroad bridge and got stuck underneath on June 11. The vehicle was heavily damaged, and the bridge and its artwork damaged.

Chelsea Kline and her daughter Lulu, of Northampton, did not see the truck strike the bridge on Monday, but did watch as part of the bridge got sawed off. Kline said she cannot believe that motorists are still hitting the bridge.

“I’m irked,” said Kline, who also said that she hopes the truck driver would not be held financially responsible for damages.

Ward 3 City Councilor James Nash, who has the bridge in his district, said he is interested in seeing where trucks that hit the bridge are coming from and where they are going

“I can’t eat lunch without a truck hitting the bridge these days,” Nash said.

“This bridge has become such a problem that it’s made it onto postcards, as the truck-eating bridge,” said Jackewich, who believes that the problem is geographic given the number of trucks that hit the bridge.

“I can’t see this many trucks hitting this bridge this often without there being more than just an operator issue,” he said.

Bera Dunau can be

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