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MBTA - Merrimack River Bridge (Haverhill)


MBTA - Merrimack River Bridge (Haverhill)

looking north

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BH Photo #454356

Street View 


"The Merrimack River Bridge is a Warren truss with verticals, fabricated by the Bethlehem Steel Bridge Company in its Steelton, Pennsylvania plant in 1920. The structure consists of four deck trusses, one thru truss, and four deck plate girder bridges. Three of the deck trusses are located to the south of the thru truss, while the other deck truss and the deck plate girder bridges are located to the north. Four of the trusses are composed of 8 panels while one, on the south side has only 6 panels. It is interesting to note the structural configuration of the deck trusses: they are supported on upper cord bearings connected to the lower cord by a tension diagonal. The structure remains in essentially unaltered, original condition, and it is a particularly fine example of early-20th century, riveted truss technology built in response to the increased rail live loadings. The bridge is supported by five cutwater piers in granite blocks set in flemish bond, according to Peter Molloy. The piers date to the non-extant, original 1880 pin-connected, thru truss bridge fabricated by the Phoenix Steel Company. The piers are in particularly good condition and are constructed with sloping, icebreaker-type cutwaters on the upstream face." - Massachusetts Historical Commission (P. Blair, P. Lazrus, MBTA Historical Property Survey, 10/1988)


Warren through truss bridge over Merrimack River on MBTA Haverhill Line
Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts
Open to traffic
Future prospects
Slated for a $110 Million demolition and replacement project.
Built 1919
- Bethlehem Steel Co. of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
- Amtrak (AMTK)
- Boston & Maine Railroad (BM)
- Commuter Rail
- Guilford Rail System (GRS)
- Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
- Pan Am Railways (PAR)
- Springfield Terminal Railway (ST)
Warren through truss main span, and Warren deck truss approach spans, all with riveted connections.
Length of largest span: 180.0 ft.
Total length: 1,929.0 ft.
Deck width: 17.0 ft.
Also called
Amtrak Merrimack River Bridge (Haverhill)
BM - Merrimack River Bridge
B&M Western Route Bridge No. 32.68
B&M Western Route Bridge No. 35
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.77070, -71.08630   (decimal degrees)
42°46'15" N, 71°05'11" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/329315/4737462 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 48531 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 14, 2019: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • February 2, 2015: Updated by Ian Martin: Added builder, dimensions, & other info. from MHC listing
  • November 7, 2013: New Street View added by J.P.
  • March 29, 2011: Added by Nathan Holth

Related Bridges 



MBTA - Merrimack River Bridge (Haverhill)
Posted November 4, 2019, by Anonymous

Fortunately, they scaled it back. It is currently being rehabbed. https://www.kkcsworld.com/news/mbta-merrimack-river-washingt...

Haverhill Railroad Bridge
Posted March 29, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Got a loose $110 Million? Why spend a portion of it to repair a historic bridge when instead you can blow it all on a project to demolish and replace a beautiful, heavy duty riveted railroad truss bridge?