Northampton, MA

The Truck-Eating Bridge Keeps on Eating

Terianne Falcone

It's something we've all gotten used to

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The infamous truck-eating bridge at Bridge Street, NorthamptonPhoto credit Northampton Police

I'm back in Northampton after 25 years. I cannot believe that that darn railroad overpass is still "eating" big trucks.

You know the one near Fitzwilly's at the intersection of Main and Bridge Streets in the center of downtown. It passes over Route 9 and is the main entrance to downtown Northampton coming from the east.

There are plenty of signs indicating an 11-foot clearance. The standard freight trailer is between 12.5 to 13.5 tall.

Oy vey.

To my truck-driver readers: It ain't gonna fit! 12 is a larger number than 11. The truck is just going to get wedged in the underpass, the bridge will likely shave your roof off, drivers will honk and scream at you, traffic will be held up for hours, many individuals will curse you. The police and fire department will extricate you and your oversized truck. They've gotten used to it over the years. Since January 2020, there have been over a dozen incidents. But I think they'd rather not.

So, why does it keep happening? Are truck drivers too sleepy or oblivious to notice the sign that says there's an 11-foot clearance? Or maybe they read the sign and think, "Nah, I can make it."

And then the big truck gets stuck under the railroad overpass; traffic stops, cars honk, the roof is no longer there. And the driver probably gets a bit embarrassed.

Oy vey.

There are warning signs one mile before the bridge from one direction and a half-mile from the other direction. And, of course, there are signs just before the bridge on both sides of the underpass.

And yet.

A dozen a year!

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Truck-eating bridge famous enough to be a postcard!Postcard by Paul Shoul (paulshoulphotography.com) and Pam Glaven (impressinc.com)

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I've moved back to this area after living abroad for 15 years. Both the landscape and the people are beautiful. People are kind to each other here in Northampton, MA. Thus, as I get reacquainted and go see all the cool stuff, I shall share with you! And, I have fun stories from abroad!

Northampton, MA
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