Glenville Highway Department workers spent about eight hours Tuesday spraying water at the work of vandals — and they’ll be back at it Tuesday.
The graffiti appeared last year, in early winter, on the south side of the bridge that carries railroad tracks over Glenridge Road just north of a roundabout — both of which were built as part of a $11.7 million state Department of Transportation project completed in September 2013.
“That looks real fresh,” said highway worker Dan van Heusen, pointing to an upside-down, white spray-painted message, “The world may never know,” still lingering on the bridge Tuesday afternoon.“I just ran out of water, so I wasn’t able to wash that one yet.”
Van Heusen and Mike Visco used a motorized pressure sprayer and went through two tanks of water, or about 700 gallons, to remove large block letters, which appeared to spell someone’s nickname, from the bridge.
Supervisor Chris Koetzle said it was too cold outside to clean the graffiti when it first appeared, and highway workers were also busy clearing roads off snow and ice.
“This was really the first opportunity,” he said. “All winter it’s been on our to-do list.”
The bridge is owned by the Canadian Pacific Railroad Authority, so Koetzle had to receive permission before mobilizing town workers to remove the graffiti. He said he reached out to the state DOT, who gave him a number for Canadian Pacific in Montreal to call. Koetzle was then told to call someone in South Dakota before being directed to the right Canadian Pacific representative in Clifton Park, he said.
“Once I tracked down the right person, I offered for the town to clean it so we could do it in a speedy way, and they allowed that,” he said.
Canadian Pacific gave the town a chemical with which to treat the graffiti, but Van Heusen said it had no effect on the spray paint, so the cleaning was done purely with high-pressured water.
Koetzle said it was important to remove the graffiti because “litter begets litter, and I think the same is true for things like graffiti.” That area, which connects Glenville to Clifton Park, is also one of the town’s entryways, which the town has worked to beautify, he said.
“It just has a negative impact on the community, and it isn’t indicative of this community at all,” he said. “This was done by, I think, some individuals who probably may not even live in this town.”
No suspects have been identified, Koetzle said, ”but we are watching and we will prosecute to the full extent of the law.”
Koetzle said he is working with Canadian Pacific to see if the concrete bridge can be treated to be more resistant to graffiti and easier to clean. He also said he’d be open to having a mural painted on the bridge.
“Something that represents the community, and so maybe that would discourage the graffiti,” he said.