WEST NEWBURY – Hours after a tractor-trailer became wedged beneath the Rocks Village Bridge on Monday evening, the vital link between East Haverhill and West Newbury reopened to traffic early Tuesday.
The driver of the tractor-trailer got off Interstate 495 about 6 p.m. to avoid a massive traffic jam caused by a fatal car crash on the three-lane highway in Salisbury.
Unfamiliar with the area and the bridge’s height, the driver attempted to squeeze through — only to get stuck, according to West Newbury police Chief Jeffrey Durand.
The bridge was immediately closed to traffic, prompting nearby police departments, including Merrimac and Newburyport, to warn motorists via social media to stay clear of the area.
The bridge was reopened to traffic by 2 a.m., Durand added.
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.
A sign on each end of the bridge says the height limit for vehicles is 12 feet 6 inches. The standard height of a tractor-trailer is 13 feet 6 inches.
The bridge was last shut down July 5 when a truck carrying a large roll-off container struck the bridge, dropping the container onto the road.
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.
Emails to Massachusetts Department of Transportation officials seeking comment on the incident and the bridge’s condition were not returned.