DOT: Plans underway to help prevent trucks from hitting Glenville rail bridge

Schenectady County

GLENVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced plans to deter trucks from hitting the Glenville rail bridge above Glenridge Road. This comes after the bridge was hit multiple times within a month and even twice within 20 minutes one day.

“The alarming trend of distracted truck operators as well as operators using unauthorized personal GPS devices on this height-restricted roadway has reached rampant levels and I have directed the Department to take immediate action to help mitigate future strikes,” said DOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez.

The project includes the installation of flashing beacons above and below the existing low-clearance warning signs before the bridge on eastbound and westbound Glenridge Road. DOT said this work is expected to begin in December.

DOT said the beacons will supplement the existing 14 signs already in place in both directions, as well as pavement markings warning truckers of the low clearance bridge.

The project will include the deployment of an electronic detection and active warning system, as well as the construction of a vehicle turnaround area on one side of the bridge and the potential for a diversion route on the other side.

When an overheight vehicle travels underneath a detector, nearby signs will flash signals and an electronic message board will warn the driver that their vehicle is too tall to fit under the bridge. The system would also send an alert message to DOT’s Traffic Management Center. 

DOT said the design for the detection system and turnaround area is underway. The department expects to complete construction for both in 2023.   

In the westbound direction, which is the direction of travel of the majority of bridge strikes, there are nine advance signs over about three-quarter of a mile warning of the bridge height. 

DOT discourages the use of consumer GPS and phone mapping systems for drivers of overheight vehicles, as those systems do not account for bridge heights. The department encourages the use of commercial-grade GPS systems that specifically account for certain road restrictions. 

“This is a good first step and I am glad to see that the state is finally starting to implement some of the ideas that we have advocated for over the years,” said Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle. “However, questions remain and I hope the state will sit down with the town to discuss the details of plan. I have some concerns relating to the safety and effectiveness of this plan and I hope DOT will continue to embrace the town’s input as we continue our work together to make this important corridor safer for our residents.”

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