Haverhill Tries ‘Last Desperate Measure’ to Force State’s Hand on Rocks Village Bridge Truck Ban

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan before the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 2019. (WHAV News photograph.)

The Haverhill City Council agreed this week to, what was termed, a “last desperate measure” in its attempt to have trucks banned from the Rocks Village Bridge.

The bridge, which connects Haverhill to West Newbury, has been closed to all traffic since being hit by an over-height truck on March 17. That incident was the third time in the past four years the bridge had to be closed due to being hit by an over-sized vehicle. Thus far, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has been adamant in its decision not to restrict trucks. Frustrated by the lack of response from state transportation officials, City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan wrote a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker asking him to intervene.

“You can talk to the MassDOT until you’re blue in the face, they’re not going to change their minds unless someone above them tells them they should. In spite of all the problems that have gone on there, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation does not want to entertain a heavy commercial truck exclusion for the Rocks Village Bridge,” Sullivan explained.

After Sullivan read the letter aloud, Council Vice President John A. Michitson praised the work, noting he attended a virtual meeting with MassDOT earlier this week, and it was clear they are not changing their minds.

“Councilor Sullivan’s letter was spot-on. As far as the state goes, no one cares,” Michitson said.

Besides the governor, the letter will be sent to Sens. Diana DiZoglio and Bruce Tarr; Reps. Andy X. Vargas, Lenny Mirra and James Kelcourse; Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini; West Newbury Select Board Chairperson David Archibald; and MassDOT Secretary Jamey Tesler.

State officials closed the Rocks Village Drawbridge March 17, between Haverhill and West Newbury. (Mike Jarvis photograph for WHAV News.)

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