A weight limit posted on the Cowles Bridge in Westfield banned fire trucks from crossing, but now after months of questions, the MassDOT has approved a waiver, allowing fire trucks to again use the bridge.
The bridge is on the state's list to be replaced in a few years, but in order to keep it functioning until then, heavy trucks cannot use this bridge.
But just recently, the fire department got a waiver that allows emergency vehicles to cross over with some restrictions
The waiver that the MassDOT granted the Westfield Fire Department allows for four fire trucks to cross this bridge, however:
MassDOT reviewed the request for a waiver and told Western Mass News that the bridge is able to accommodate most of the department’s vehicles at low speeds during emergency responses.
That’s why a specific speed limit is required.
This came months after being told the trucks could not pass at all, making their route to this part of the city longer.
The fire department announced the waiver on their Facebook page:
“Thank you to our local and state officials that helped in assisting in getting the waiver, including MassDOT.”
One of those officials is Massachusetts Senator Don Humason, who told Western Mass News that the bridge is still safe:
“It's not like the bridge is in danger of falling in, but they're trying to extend the life of the bridge as long as they can.”
As much as the waiver is good for those who live on the south side of the bridge, and those who travel to Southwick, residents are still worried about people's safety.
This bridge is on the state’s list to be totally replaced, and when it is, it will be able to handle much more weight.
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