Low bridge crashes happening time after time in the Capital Region

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Two truck accidents in the Capital Region closed roads and snarled traffic for hours on Tuesday. Several low bridges have been hit by trucks time and time again. The reason? Something we’ve seen numerous times with a certain bridge in Glenville: drivers not paying attention to height restriction signs.

Does this growing problem have a solution? On Tuesday afternoon, a cement truck hit the underpass of the Albany County Rail Trail Bridge in Slingerlands. A westbound truck on New Scotland Road was too tall to clear the underpass.

The truck was lodged under the bridge, closing the road for hours until it was removed. “People can’t read signs, they really can’t raise the bridge, so they are going to be replacing it,” said Allen Via.  

Via lives near the bridge and believes it physically cannot take another hit. “It hasn’t been too much of a problem, but that cement truck hitting the bridge is going to be a big-time problem if it did some structural damage,” said Via.

The driver of the truck was not injured during the crash, but was charged with disobeying a traffic control device. Officials determined the bridge to be safe and reopened the road to traffic.

And another one bit the dust in Clifton Park later the same day. A tractor-trailer struck the Carlton Road underpass between Van Patten Drive and Kinns Road. “We don’t feel good about it, but we do the best we can to put signage up,” said Clifton Park Highway Superintendent Dahn Bull. “We try to make sure trucks don’t do that, but some things getting lost in the mix.”

The road was closed for a couple of hours. Bull said that, as a reminder, Carlton Road remains inaccessible to box trucks, haul trucks, and tractor-trailers. He also said they are seeing a lot of truck drivers from out of state on the road.

According to Bull, they are working with state troopers on some solutions. “We have had conversations maybe truck drivers are trying to avoid tolls or weigh stations. We want to see what ways they are taking to get them to here. Our plan is to work with state troopers and county sheriffs to patrol these trucks before they make these mistakes,” he said.

Kendra Hems, president of the New York Trucking Association, says that when planning their routes, truck drivers should rely on education, enforcement, and engineering. “We want to ensure that drivers are mapping out their routes out correctly, and again not solely relying on GPS. They should use other tools such as calling customers to find out the safest way to their destination,” she said.

Bull announced that Carlton Road between Van Patten Drive and Kinns Road will be closed to traffic on Tuesday, November 23 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for repairs at the train underpass.

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