It had been two months since an oversized truck tried to squeeze beneath the East Street bridge in Westwood, only to have the top of the vehicle peeled back like someone opening a tin of sardines.
On Saturday, the dry spell was finally broken.
“I’m pleasantly surprised that it hadn’t happened sooner,” said Westwood police Lieutenant Leo Hoban, who posted a video of the latest crash on the department’s YouTube page.
In his 29 years on the job, Hoban said, such accidents at the low-hanging bridge, which is owned by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, have become all too familiar. On average, he said, officers field calls for crashes at the scene at least once a month.
A white moving truck was the latest victim. The impact tore back the truck’s roof, and lifted the vehicle off of one of its back wheels.
“This was a good one,” Hoban said. “You can make it under if you go fast enough, but some instances you leave your roof behind, and other instances you leave your entire box behind.”
No one was injured.
Cameras were installed near the overpass in 2013 because of the frequency of the accidents. The department posts videos of the incidents on the Web.
Hoban puts only the most dramatic mishaps on the department YouTube page. He keeps a special “bridge crash folder” on his computer dedicated to the mishaps.
“Doesn’t everybody?” he said of the folder. “In some respects, [the crashes are] just routine now, and people do enjoy keeping up with them.”
In 2014, 15 crashes were reported at the bridge, which sits 10 feet 6 inches from the ground. That included a week with two crashes.
The most memorable accident, Hoban said, involved a truck from Maine carrying $100,000 worth of lobsters. Upon impact, the crustaceans were flung pell-mell to the pavement, and a small fire broke out in the truck cab. The crash caused severe delays for morning commuters on the Franklin MBTA commuter rail line, which runs over the bridge.
So far this year, there have only been four crashes.
“It’s below the historical average,” Hoban said.
The decrease is attributable in part to the town’s Department of Public Works installing additional signs on the approaches to the bridge. Crews have also added a reflective yellow strip and a new warning sign to the overpass itself to alert truck drivers about its low height.
MBTA officials said that a design firm is in the process of developing a report that will outline three bridge design alternatives. Once complete, the T will recommend one of the designs to Westwood town officials. The design phase will take up to a year or more, but the public will have an opportunity to comment and provide feedback on the proposal once complete.
“The other thing that was proposed was the idea of putting in bars before the bridge that will make a noise when you hit them, like they have on Storrow Drive,” Hoban said. “But the neighbors weren’t too thrilled about having a bell that goes off all of the time.”
The latest video showing a truck smashing into the East Street bridge was captured on video Saturday, June 6:
In June last year, a box truck unfurled like yarn as it caught the lip of the bridge:
In July of 2014, a truck lost its ladders as it tried to drive beneath the underpass:
Police said one of the most memorable crashes was one from 2014, when a truck carrying $100,000 worth of lobsters smashed into the bridge and caught on fire:
In 2013, a Penske moving truck met its demise, sending a blast of snow into the air: