Officials, residents at a loss as Bank Street Bridge strikes continue

The highway construction and subsequent detours are not helping

Residents in Waterbury, Connecticut say something has to be done about the sheer number of semi trucks that continue to strike a notoriously low bridge, and it needs to be done before someone gets seriously hurt. 

The Bank Street Railroad Bridge is struck by overheight semi trucks “all the time,” according to residents, who want the strikes to stop but aren’t sure what the next move is. 

“When is somebody gonna do something?” said Mike Theriault, a local resident. “Are they gonna wait until somebody gets hurt critically? Something has to happen out here.”

More specifically, News 8 reports that the bridge was struck 15 times in 2019, 11 times in 2020, and six times already this year. Luckily, no one was hurt in any of these incidents. 

Local police say that construction on many of the main highways in the area have created detours, making bridge strikes more possible as truckers navigate the city streets. 

“There have been some detours that have been made because of the construction,” said Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo.

“A lot of that truck traffic was diverted into city streets. At that point we met with Connecticut DOT, MTA Police who are ultimately responsible and have jurisdiction for those bridges,” he said. “We came up with a plan, created some different diversionary routes for commercial traffic, put up more signage.”

“That has had some success,” said Chief Spagnolo. “We’ve seen a reduction in bridge strikes but it’s still an issue we have to deal with in Waterbury.”

There’s so many lights, neon lights,” Mike said, describing the flashing LED lights surrounding signs that display the maximum height of the Bank Street Bridge.

Despite the excessive signage, officials say it seems that drivers are following their GPs more than the signs and surroundings around them.

“It is very frustrating,” said Waterbury State Rep. Geraldo Reyes. “Concerning for the damage it could possibly do.”