108-Year-Old Drawbridge Causes Commuter Rail Delays

GLOUCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Riders on the Newburyport-Rockport Commuter Rail line were stuck on a train for more than an hour and a half this morning because of an issue with an old drawbridge in Gloucester.

Commuter Rail operator Keolis said the incident will be reviewed to determine the specific cause, and apologized for the delays.

The drawbridge over the Annisquam River dates back to 1911, and is based on a design created by the architect of the Golden Gate Bridge—but it has it's problems. MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo told WBZ NewsRadio this morning's issue was fixed, and said the MBTA is in the middle of a four-year, $57 million project to replace the old bridge.

A full replacement of the bridge and a new control tower are part of the plan.

"To reduce service disruptions, work will be completed in 2 phases," Pesaturo told WBZ. "Half the bridge will be demolished while the other side remains open. When the first phase is complete, work on the other side will begin. Service will only be disrupted overnight when necessary, or on a limited number of weekends, including THIS coming weekend."

The bridge will be closed this weekend while work is done, with buses to be used between the West Gloucester and Rockport stations instead of trains.

An update on the project will be shown at a public meeting on March 11 at Gloucester City Hall.

WBZ NewsRadio's Doug Cope (@dcopewbz) reports

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