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Boats are trapped after bridge is stuck

Amtrak repairs were completed Nov. 8 to the Niantic River Bridge in East Lyme, Conn.

The bridge was stuck in the down position for a week while commercial boats were trapped inside Niantic Bay.

The main drive chain on the south side of the bridge broke at about 2 p.m. Nov. 1, resulting in the lift span freefalling to a close, according to Amtrak. The impact caused the lift span to shift and rest misaligned from its normal closed position.

Amtrak plans to award a contract for the replacement of the 102-year-old bridge, which already experienced extensive repairs in July. The bridge currently serves up to 38 Amtrak passenger trains, two Shoreline East and two freight trains every day, and opens for marine traffic 4,000 times each year.

“When I can’t get out of the bay, I’m losing money,” says Matt Poitras, operator at Capt. John’s Sport Fishing Center, which runs a series of fishing charters in the area. “The trains are still moving, but we aren’t moving [when the bridge is being repaired.] With the bad weather we’ve had this summer, every weekend we can get out there counts.”

This article originally appeared in the Connecticut and New York Home Waters Section of the January