A truck is ‘Storrowed’ at infamous Westwood bridge . . . again
It happened again. An 18-wheel tractor-trailer slammed into the MBTA commuter rail bridge in Westwood Friday morning, generating delays on the Franklin Line after a speed reduction was ordered as a safety precaution, officials said.
The truck, which was hauling Hood dairy products, struck the bridge over East Street around 6 a.m., shredding the first third of the top of the truck, according to Todd Korchin, Westwood’s director of public works.
The East Street Railroad Bridge has for years been the bane of truck drivers who fail to notice its low height. The T, in November, replaced the old span and increased the height to about 12 feet but still cautioned drivers with a banner draped across the bridge with the words “low clearance.”
“The signage could not be more explicit,’’ MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said Friday.
MBTA crews inspected the bridge and determined there was no significant structural damage before allowing commuter trains over the bridge again Friday, Korchin said.
The road was cleared and opened to traffic around 9:30 a.m., he said.
The truck, which is 13 feet 6 inches tall, should not have been on East Street in the first place, Korchin said.
“[The driver] disobeyed the law,” he said. “We don’t allow trucks of that nature to use East Street.”
Between 2009 and 2015, 81 crashes were reported at the bridge, Westwood police told the Globe in 2016. Some involved truck drivers hitting the bottom of the steel overpass, while others were cars slamming into a protruding curb under the bridge. Before it was fixed, the bridge had a clearance of 10 feet, 6 inches.
The problem became so persistent that in 2013, police set up a camera nearby to capture the crashes. Trucks were hitting the bridge once every six weeks on average, Korchin said.
“There were enough strikes of that bridge previously which prompted the MBTA to proceed with a new height in that area,” Korchin said.
The bridge was upgraded in two stages: The replacement of the span came first. In the spring, officials plan to lower the road itself, increasing the final height to 13 feet, 6 inches, Pesaturo said.
“Even at the bridge’s final resting height, when the project is completed in the spring, the truck would have hit the bridge, too,” Korchin said.
A bridge inspector concluded Friday there was no damage to the new steel span, and the speed restriction on the Franklin Line was eventually lifted, he said.
With the help of a crane, the truck was hauled out from underneath the bridge.