So here we have two stretches of rail trail – Clipper City Rail Trail & Eastern Marsh Rail Trail. They’re beautiful, they’re permanent and they are definitely being used on a regular basis. They have become a dynamic part of Newburyport & Salisbury.
And then there is the Trestle Bridge. A rusted, useless obstruction that is a black eye to the entire harbor.
So why is it here?
It couldn’t be because it’s historic. Mass Historic in Form L-902 has deemed the Boston & Maine Railroad Bridge built in 1888 to be of no historic value.
Mayors of Newburyport since the seventies have been wanting to tear this eye sore down and yet they have been stonewalled.
- It is an unsightly obstruction to the inner harbor.
- It is an obstruction that limits access to the back water ways of Newburyport
- It is a rusting source of pollutants and its deterioration poses a safety hazard to boaters.
- Worst of all, it divides our beautiful harbor and cuts off the back bay making it less desirable and lowering the general property values of sites behind its rusting hulk.
If it could be removed, the beauty and value of the entire harbor would be multiplied at least twice-fold.
So again, why is it here?
The Rockingham Planning Commission had the bridge inspected in 2001 as part of a study to determine the feasibility of extending commuter rail service north from Newburyport to Portsmouth. That inspection determined the bridge to be in good condition and could be repaired at a modest cost to resume operation. (about $8.415 million) It was also found by a separate study by the Coast Guard the bridge could be demolished at an approximate cost of $10 million.
In the end, the MBTA decided that at the very least if rail service was reconstituted, the existing bridge would ease the acquiring of permits and right of ways. It was then at considerable cost, the MBTA decided to upgrade the maintenance of the bridge so it would cease to be a hazard to the waterway.
NOW IN THE MEANTIME THE MBTA HAS SIGNED A 99-YEAR LEASE TO THE CITY OF NEWBURYPORT FOR THE CLIPPER CITY RAIL TRAIL AND A 99-YEAR LEASE TO THE TOWN OF SALISBURY. IN ADDITION, THE MBTA HAS ASSISTED IN THE PLANNING OF THE BOSTON TO BORDER RAIL TRAIL SYSTEM.
Can anyone on this earth ever figure out the mindset of the government?
If we go outside bureaucracy and politics and look at this with real logic, it makes sense to get the funds together and get rid of this rusted eye-sore. The trains are not coming back!
The trestle bridge needs to go!