LOOKING BACK: The Glenridge Road railroad bridge’s greatest hits of 2022

FILE - From August.

FILE - From August.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This weekend, The Daily Gazette is looking back at some of the top regional stories from 2022.

GLENVILLE – When many people think of Glenville the thing that often comes to mind is the Glenville Bridge, an ironic reality because while the bridge is physically located in Glenville, it’s not a town-owned-bridge or over a town-owned-road that has been the site of more than a dozen incidents in 2022.

The bridge has been hit somewhere between 100 and 125 times since its construction in 2013, with 13 of those incidents happening this year, including two earlier this month. While getting hit over a dozen times in a year may seem like a lot, the bridge was hit about 40% less in 2022 than it was in 2021 when it was struck a total of 22 times.

“It’s about half of what we’ve seen in previous years before they deployed the turnaround, and the new signs and the flashing lights,” Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle said.

The bridge getting hit on a regular basis has a number of impacts on the town. The town is expected to be the response to the scene when the bridge is struck, Koetzle explained. This takes local law enforcement, and other town employees away from other duties to handle each incident with the bridge.

The bridge is owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway, and the road drivers travel on is a state DOT maintained road.
Photos of the tops of trucks taken off like a tin can by the bridge routinely

The bridge getting hit also often ties up traffic, and can cause road closures and detours around the area for sometimes eight hours at a time, Koetzle explained.

The bridge was hit twice in the same week in December and twice in two days near the end of August. The frequent hits have launched a number of homemade warning signs, funny advertisements from local furniture companies boasting about their trucking being small enough to make it under the infamous bridge and a Glenville Bridge Facebook Page which has nearly 5,000 friends and followers.

“That’s a main road through Glenville,” Koetzle said. “It connects us to Clifton Park. It also has an impact on Alplaus neighborhoods, all the traffic has to go through a residential neighborhood when that happens.”

The bridge has a 10-foot, 11-inch clearance height, lower than the national average tractor trailer height of 13.5 feet, according to the International Used Truck Centers website.

The state Department of Transportation announced the completion of a new truck turnaround area along Glenridge Road immediately east of the bridge in July.

The turnaround has been installed about 500 feet east of the railroad overpass for westbound vehicles, which is the direction of travel of the majority of vehicles that have struck the bridge in recent years, the state DOT reported in July.

The bridge was averaging two-to-three strikes per month prior to the actions DOT deployed such as the turnaround and additional signage, Koetzle explained previously. The hits have shrunk to about once a month since then.

DOT will be implementing a laser detection system in spring. The detection system will trip and set off more flashing lights and signs when a truck too tall to pass under the bridge passes through the beam.

The majority of incidents have been found to be caused by drivers who are following GPS directions. Standard over the counter and phone GPS devices can warn drivers about upcoming traffic or hazards like accidents, but do not warn drivers about bridge heights and clearance limits, Glenville Police Chief Stephen Janik explained.

“It’s obviously turned into one of those things that, it’s almost just laughable now,” Janik said. “Instead of frustrating it’s just an expected event.”

The turnaround area installed at one side of the bridge has helped to alleviate some of the congestion and traffic buildup that occurs when the bridge is hit, Janik explained.

Additional officers need to be called on for overtime when the bridge is hit and they are needed to close off the road, control traffic and investigate the situation, Janik explained.

“I think the amount of money that it has cost the Police Department budget, not including the town Highway Department which is sometimes used to barricade the road to assist and equipment, fuel,” Janik said. “We’re talking anywhere between $50,000 and $60,000, that’s taxpayer money.”

Categories: News, News, Schenectady County, Scotia Glenville

Leave a Reply