Sunday, May 22, 2011

HAVERHILL — After two trailers carrying animals broke loose from their tow vehicles and crashed on an Interstate 495 bridge, the state has begun repai

If your car hits a bump or a pot hole is your car falling apart?
Then we simply ask.....why are hitches falling apart? Why when you hit a bump your trailer is coming off? WE KNOW WHY AND NHTSA IS TRYING TO STOP US!!!!

May 22, 2011

Repairs to I-495 bridge finally begin, but bumpy ride remains

HAVERHILL — After two trailers carrying animals broke loose from their tow vehicles and crashed on an Interstate 495 bridge, the state has begun repairs to create a smoother driving surface.

But the repairs are happening much later than city officials expected — in May instead of earlier this spring when the weather cleared. The crashes happened in September and December.

While the repair work has somewhat improved the surface of the bridge over the Merrimack River, it is still rough in both the north- and south-bound lanes, particularly for heavy vehicles such as truck and trailers.

City Councilor David Hall said he was under the impression that the repairs were to have been completed by this time. He said he crosses the bridge five or six times a week, and that the ride is still bumpy.

"Months ago, we held a conference call in the mayor's office with the state Department of Transportation and we were told this was going to be a top priority and that it would be addressed," said Hall, who is chairman of the public safety committee.

"Here we are almost into June, and I don't see any progress out there. It's more than bumpy. It's dangerous," Hall said. "When tractor trailers are traveling side by side the road is so rough they are bouncing. It won't take much to veer left or right into a passing car."

Adam Hurtubise, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said the first phase of the work involves nighttime repairs to the bridge decking. This part of the project should be completed in a few weeks, he said. But drivers should brace for a continued bumpy ride as federal funding the state has requested to repave the bridges is pending, he said.

State officials said repairs have been taking place at night based on the availability of crews, and when emergency or other repairs are not being completed elsewhere throughout the Department of Transportation's District 4, which includes Haverhill. Repair crews typically shut down one lane when working, then reopen that lane in time for the morning commute.

Hurtubise said the first phase of the work involves removing areas of deteriorated concrete beneath the asphalt driving surface and filling it in with rapid-setting concrete. The state is currently seeking approval from the Federal Highway Administration to use federal money for the milling and paving portion of the project.

Hurtubise said repairs to the bridge must be coordinated with the state's Fast 14 bridge-replacement project, because I-495 is one of the alternate routes that will be used for traffic.

On Dec. 16, a truck towing a horse trailer traveling north on I-495 hit a series of bumps while crossing the Merrimack River bridge. The trailer broke free and crashed. At the time, a horse was taken to an animal hospital for treatment of injuries.

Those same bumps were to blame for a Sept. 30 crash of a trailer carrying four alpacas. The animals were unharmed.

Following the December crash, the state set up electronic message boards warning drivers to slow down when crossing the bridge. Those message boards have since been replaced with four yellow signs warning drivers of the rough surface.

Repairs to the bridge started in December, but were hampered by severe winter conditions. Hurtubise said the areas in need of repairs were identified through a previous bridge inspection.

This summer, the state will replace 14 deteriorated bridge superstructures on Interstate 93 in Medford. The replacements that are the core of the Fast 14 project will take place on weekends in June, July and August (except July 4). This plan avoids impacting rush-hour traffic, according to transportation officials.

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