Officials urge DOT action after Glenville bridge strikes

Town says 56 bridge strikes in the last 10 years
A stuck tractor trailer truck at the railroad bridge on Glenridge and Hatcheltown roads in Glenville, July 10, 2018.
A stuck tractor trailer truck at the railroad bridge on Glenridge and Hatcheltown roads in Glenville, July 10, 2018.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

GLENVILLE — After a commercial truck again struck a low railroad bridge over Glenridge Road this week, state Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville, is asking the state Department of Transportation to at least improve signage.

Tedisco and Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said it will enhance public safety and reduce costs for local taxpayers if new signage is installed near the two railroad bridges on Glenridge between Clifton Park and Glenville Center.

“This is not only an economic development issue for the people of Glenville and the 49th Senate District, but also a significant public safety matter,” Tedisco wrote in a letter Wednesday to state DOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez. “My fear is that a truck will get stuck under the bridge and its roof will fly off and hit an oncoming vehicle, causing injury or loss of life.”

According to Koetzle, there have been 56 bridge strikes and an additional 90 near-misses that caused traffic backups over the last decade, since the narrower of the two bridges was replaced. He estimates that has cost town taxpayers well over $50,000 for police, fire and highway personnel to respond.

The bridges are as low as 10-foot, 11-inches above the roadway. DOT officials have said they consider warning signage to be adequate, and said they think some truck drivers rely on basic GPS, which doesn’t provide warnings about low bridges or weight limits that GPS for commercial drivers does.

“Enough is enough. It’s time that the state and CP Rail address this serious public safety issue and get proper signage to help better prevent any more potential strikes. I don’t want to hear it’s properly signed anymore because, clearly, it is not,” Koetzle said.

The most recent strike was on Tuesday, when a tractor-trailer truck hit one of the bridges and had part of its roof ripped off.

“As someone who travels on Glenridge Road on a daily basis, I frequently witness trucks getting stuck at one of the railroad bridges, forcing our first responders to scramble to ensure public safety and address the traffic jams caused by these mishaps,” Tedisco said.

A DOT spokesman said the matter will be reviewed.

“The safety of the traveling public is a top priority of the New York State Department of Transportation and we take the issue of bridge strikes very seriously,” said spokesman Bryan Viggiani. “We will review the concerns raised by the senator and town supervisor.”

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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