About a week after a box truck struck a lesser well-known bridge in Glenville, a bill to require the state Department of Transportation to provide details on bridge strikes across the state is making its way to the Senate to be voted on.
The office of Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, said it anticipates the bill being voted on before the Legislature ends its session on Thursday.
Santabarbara is co-sponsor of the bill, along with Assemblyman John T. McDonald III. Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli is sponsoring the bill.
“Far too often, we are seeing large trucks colliding with low bridges in towns like Rotterdam and Glenville, causing significant damage,” Santabarbara said. “Here in Schenectady County, unfortunately, it’s an issue that many local residents and commuters are very familiar with in their daily lives.”
The Glenridge Road Bridge in Glenville, which has a 10-foot, 11-inch clearance, has taken the brunt of around 100 truck strikes over several years.
But occasionally the Maple Avenue Bridge, located just miles from Glenridge Road, is also hit, such as the case May 25.
This legislation would require the DOT to provide location of bridge strikes, any repairs made to the bridge and efforts or recommendations that have been made to prevent future hits.
The state has installed turnarounds just before the Glenridge Road Bridge to give large trucks the opportunity to avoid hitting the bridge. The state is also putting on an overhead detection system to alert drivers.
Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle said “more information the better” and that the proposed legislation would give the public “more data to work on issues.”
The Sitterly Road bridge in Clifton Park has also dealt with collisions. In April 2021, a boom lift being towed on a trailer on the Northway hit the overpass, damaging it beyond repair. The state installed a temporary bridge a few weeks later as work to replace the Sitterly Road bridge began. The bridge reopened in September 2022. The state made the new bridge higher, with a 16-foot, 7.5- inch clearance, compared to the previous 14-foot, 4-inch clearance.
Sen. John Mannion, who represents portions of Syracuse where the often-hit Onondaga Lake Parkway bridge is located, is the Senate sponsor of the bill.
In September 2010, four people died when a 13-foot-high, double-decker bus hit the parkway bridge.
That bridge has a 10-foot, 9-inch clearance. A portion of the bridge is painted orange to make it more visible to drivers, along with multiple signs leading up to the bridge and blinking lights.
Mannion’s office on Friday said the senator is optimistic the bill will pass before the end of session.
The DOT said it does not comment on pending legislation. However, DOT said that safety is of the utmost importance.
“The New York State Department of Transportation takes the issue of bridge strikes very seriously and has implemented a variety of measures to enhance safety low-clearance overpasses, including, installation of enhanced signage and pavement markings, state-of-the-art over-height vehicle detection technologies and heightened enforcement efforts,” said Bryan Viggiani, a DOT spokesperson. “However, safety is everyone’s responsibility and operators of trucks and over-height vehicles must remain alert and obey signs, beacons and pavement markings warning of low bridges ahead. We do not comment on pending legislation.”
According to the DOT, bridge strikes between 2017 to 2021 have cost the department $12.4 million in repairs and labor.
Reporter Shenandoah Briere can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @ByBriere.