City Council Considers Truck Exclusion on Haverhill’s Poet’s Bridge on Whittier Road

The Poet’s Bridge on Whittier Road on the day of its rededication in 2011, (WHAV News photograph.)

Granite marker dedicating the bridge in 2011. (WHAV News photograph.)

The Haverhill City Council agreed Tuesday to look into the possibility of a truck exclusion for the Poet’s Bridge on Whittier Road.

Councilors Thomas J. Sullivan and Melissa E. Barrett said, while recently attending an event at the Whittier Birthplace, they were approached by residents of the area expressing concern about the number of 18 wheelers and other large trucks using the bridge.

“Apparently when that bridge was fixed not too long ago, workers said that it’s fixed, but it should not be having 18 wheelers use it extensively. In recent years, there’s been a lot of cut-throughs from 108 to 110 so they’re just concerned that they will lose their access point,” Barrett said.

Whittier Birthplace Trustees James P. Cleary III, left, and Tim Coco preparing for the 2011 bridge rededication. (WHAV News photograph.)

Barrett said the loss would hurt not only the residents of the area but the Whittier homestead as well.

The bridge is known famously as the setting of a depiction of the Barefoot Boy, the focus of an 1855 poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. It was rededicated Oct. 1, 2011 upon its rebuilding. During the dedication, then-Whittier Birthplace Trustee Tim Coco also saluted fellow trustee Bernard J. “Barney” Gallagher as a “metaphorical bridge” between Haverhill’s past and future.

Barrett suggested sending a letter to City Engineer John H. Pettis III, asking for more information. Her colleagues agreed, voting unanimously for the motion.

Famous depiction of the Barefoot Boy on the bridge.

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