Bates, Rocks Village and Other Drawbridges to Receive Testing in Advance of Seasonal Boating

Construction of the new Groveland/Bates Bridge in 2013. (Courtesy photograph.)

Area drawbridges over the Merrimack River, including the William H. Bates and Rocks Village Bridges, are being tested over the next few days.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will be conducting multiple test openings of the Rocks Village Drawbridge, between Haverhill and West Newbury, take place from 8 p.m., Monday, April 12, through 4:30 the next morning. Similarly, the Bates Drawbridge, along routes 97 and 113 between Haverhill and Groveland, is being tested from 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 14, through 4:30 a.m., Thursday, April 15.

Test openings are to ensure that drawbridges are ready to operate during the upcoming boating season and to train new drawbridge operators. Testing is part of a $4.19 million District 4 drawbridge operation, maintenance and repair contract awarded to SPS New England of Salisbury.

Nearby, tests of the Plum Island Drawbridge, on the Plum Island Turnpike over the Plum Island River in Newbury, take place from 8 p.m., Sunday, April 11, through 4:30, Monday morning. The drawbridge at the First Lieutenant Derek S. Hines Memorial Bridge, on Main Street over the Merrimack River in Amesbury and Newburyport, will have tests from 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 13, through 4:30 a.m., Wednesday. The bridge is also known as Essex – Merrimack Drawbridge and the Deer Island Bridge.

Drivers are asked to reduce speed and use caution during the testing times.

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