Art repairs on Main Street's truck-eating bridge

Only slightly dented, one sculpture hanging over main street has gotten a face-lift.

The metal sculpture, called "Water Music," adorns the Bridge Street railroad overpass that spans over Main Street in Northampton, which is famous for its particular knack for scalping tractor trailers. As a result, the installation has taken a bit of a beating and needed some care.

While many pieces of art require touch-ups over the years due to age, few require the kind of post-truck-collision care that a sculpture like the one adorning the bridge, made by David Teeple in 2011, needed yesterday. In a concerted effort between the Northampton Arts Council and the artist himself, the 4,000 piece sculpture was disassembled metal panel by metal panel using a cherry picker.

Video courtesy of John Riley

"We've been trying to enact some measures so that [fewer trucks smash into the bridge]," said Brian Foote, Northampton Arts Council Director, speaking from the work site on Wednesday. "See we thought how we installed the sculpture, you see how there's about a foot of relief from the actual bridge? We thought that would not have an issue with damaging the bridge. But since the trucks hit the bridge, what we didn't account for was the tin can effect of the trailer opening up and damaging the top of the bridge and the sculpture."

For now the damaged panels have been removed and will be repaired before being re-hung. Foote hopes that improved use of Google Maps by truckers will circumvent more traffic around the bridge in the future. What the bridge will do to fill its seemingly ceaseless appetite for destruction, however, remains yet to be seen.