Recent crashes in Boston tunnel raising questions

BOSTON (WHDH) - A big rig in a small tunnel is never a good combination. Wednesday, a truck carrying new Subarus drove into Boston’s O’Neill Tunnel and one of the cars on the top tier hit a hanging sign, crushing its roof and shattering its windshield.

“You would think the first thing they would do before they go anywhere is once they have a load up,  they take a measurement and say I’m within whatever,” said truck driver Denny Harrell.

It comes less than a week after a tractor-trailer driving through the O’Neill Tunnell hit the ceiling, shredding the truck.

“If you’re 14 (feet), why you trying to go through 13-10. You’re going to hit and get stuck,” said driver Joe Edge.

Drivers dodging the debris or getting caught in the standstill traffic that follows these crashes want to know why this keeps happening.

A spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation says it shouldn’t.

He tells 7News there are three sensors before going through the O’Neill Tunnell. One at 1.5 miles out, another at 1 mile out, and the third, just before the entrance.

When tripped, they send notices to message boards posted along the road, alerting the driver.

In both recent incidents, the sensors and message boards were activated.

“It’s not like it calls the driver and says you’re overheight,” Harrell said. “Maybe they need to add a fourth sensor. I don’t know.”

What all the trucker should know is that there are height restrictions on city tunnels: 13 feet, 4 inches in the Sumner and Callahan; 13 feet, 6 inches in the Pru, Fort Point Channel, Ted Williams, and O’Neill.

They’re posted but also need planning for.

“I think if it was something that did blink, they’d see the difference,” Edge said.

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