WESTWOOD (CBS) — A bridge in Westwood that is well-known for its low clearance is finally getting a makeover. The East Street bridge has trapped or ripped off the tops of many trucks over the years.
This weekend, the 10.5-foot clearance bridge will be replaced with a bridge that has a 13.5-foot clearance.READ MORE: Massachusetts Reports 1,512 New COVID Cases, 12 Additional Deaths
Town administrator Michael Jaillet said he has been pushing for change for 31 years. “There’s probably an accident or two a month,” he said.
Among the noteworthy crashes, a truck carrying 7,000 pounds of lobster — worth about $100,000 — slammed into the bridge and sparked a fire in 2014.
Paul St. Laurent has lived next to the bridge for 35 years. He says he has seen it all.
“They call it the can opener bridge because it shaves the top of the truck right off,” he explained. “There was a lobster truck years ago, there was fish all over the road, there was light bulbs.”READ MORE: Nashua 'Turkey Bowl' Canceled Due To COVID Concerns
Jaillet said the turning point came when an MBTA truck hit the bridge. “It caused a leak in the propane tank that was on the top of the bridge. It led to an evacuation in the neighborhood and I think that was a final trigger point for the town and for the MBTA to say we can’t let this continue.”
The new bridge is wider and sidewalks will be put in on both sides of the road. Crews will also lower the road underneath the bridge as another measure to prevent problems.
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East Street has already been shut down to traffic and will remain closed through Sunday or Monday. Starting at 9 p.m. Friday, the Franklin Line train service will be replaced by a shuttle bus in both directions.