DOT presents plan to Glenville, residents to mitigate Glenridge Road Bridge strikes

New York State DOT project design supervisor Scott Older addresses the Glenville Town Council and residents on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, about a proposal to prevent truckers from hitting the CSX railway bridge on Glenridge Road.

New York State DOT project design supervisor Scott Older addresses the Glenville Town Council and residents on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, about a proposal to prevent truckers from hitting the CSX railway bridge on Glenridge Road.

GLENVILLE-The state Department of Transportation will pave a truck turnaround ahead of the railroad in the westbound direction of Glenridge Road  this year and install an overheight vehicle detection system in 2023 to mitigate bridge strikes.

DOT officials presented the schedule and concept to the Glenville town board during its Wednesday evening meeting. That presentation comes after years of calls by town and state officials, as well as residents, for something to be done to keep trucks from hitting the bridge, which only has a clearance height of 10 feet 11 inches.

The DOT plans to pave a turnaround on both sides of the westbound direction of the road before the bridge that would allow trucks enough room to pull safely off the road, check for new directions, then pull back out, making one big u-turn and heading back in the direction they came and onto another route, said Scott Older, the project manager. 

He said a semi truck attempted to do just that Wednesday. 

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“The truck was pretty much doing what we anticipate them doing in our final solution, except right now we are dealing with mud season and that’s not conducive,” Older said. 

Board member James Martin asked whether there will be signage indicating the turnaround.

Older said there will be signage. 

“We’re still working on what that signage will say and the positioning of it,” he said.

Older said a turnaround isn’t needed in the other direction because they expect truck drivers to turn onto Hetcheltown Road.

Although the state’s right of way would allow for the turn around, town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said he spoke to Katy Lott who owns the property that would be impacted. 

“She seems to be okay with that proposal,” he said. 

Lott couldn’t be reached for comment. 

In addition to the turnaround, the state will install an electronic overheight detection system. The system uses infrared light, much like a garage door opener, to determine when an overheight truck is approaching the bridge and tripping additional electronic signs warning drivers of such vehicles to turn around. 

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“We’re very early in the design phase,” Older said. “We’ve got some of these systems in other parts of the state, which we’re modeling in this situation.” 

The signs would be on a timer, as to limit the light impact on the neighborhood, Older said.

He also said they are still trying to nail down exactly where the system will be placed. However, more than likely, it will be placed closer to the bridge. 

This system would be hooked up to the traffic management system that’s co-located in Latham at the State Police’s Troop G barracks. People at the center would be able to watch what’s happening near the bridge and deploy any necessary measures should a truck continue to head toward the bridge.

“It will also help us keep statistics,” Older said, which can be used to improve measures in the future.

Glenridge Road resident Susan Vielkind raised concerns about where the pole for the system would be placed — not wanting it on her front lawn.

“Safety is the first issue and that’s obviously what everybody is concerned about, but it would tick me off if something like that is put on my front lawn,” she said.

The preferred turnaround – DOT

While Older said decisions on placement of the system have not been made, he added that residential concerns will be taken into account. 

The department will conduct speed studies and look at other models to determine placement, said Patrick Barnes, DOT Region 1 director.

Aspects that need to be taken into account for the design include speed of truck and reaction times of the driver to noticing the signs and then taking preventative measures to avoid striking the bridge.

Multiple residents also brought up concerns about the blinking lights the DOT has currently installed. Many of them asked whether the DOT could move the lights placed near the roundabout back about another 50 feet. 

Barnes said the department follows certain standards regarding placement, but will bring residents’ concerns about the flashing lights back and see how much wiggle room there is to move them.

Older said once DOT has more information regarding plans for the detection system, it will share it with the town. 

Koetzle said he believes this is a good solution. State Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, agreed with Koetzle. Tedisco has been working with the town to push for changes to make the road safer. 

“It’s a long time coming,” Tedisco said about the project.

Reporter Shenandoah Briere can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on twitter @SB_DailyGazette.

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