ALBANY, N.Y. — New York state has launched a campaign to minimize the number of commercial vehicles that strike low bridges.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said that the state police will conduct a bridge hit enforcement campaign across the state through Saturday, Nov. 11.
“Each year, commercial truck operators, as well as those driving rental box trucks and moving trucks, fail to recognize their vehicle’s height and collide with bridges and overpasses, colliding with bridges and creating public safety hazards, traffic delays and damage to bridges across the state,” a news release stated.
From 2021 through 2022, there were a combined 808 reported bridge strikes across New York State, according to Hochul’s office.
“Bridge strikes are potentially hazardous to motorists and first responders and have caused needless inconveniences for local communities – but these incidents are 100% preventable,” Hochul said. “While we have implemented measures and technologies across the state to help prevent bridge strikes, nothing is more powerful than knowledge. Drivers of overheight vehicles have a responsibility here as well: follow posted warnings, know the height of vehicles and most importantly pay attention.”
New York State Police will patrol areas of known bridge hits and parkways in an effort to prevent commercial motor vehicles and oversized vehicles from colliding with an overpass. They will also coordinate enforcement details with local law enforcement commercial vehicle inspectors in areas that have high occurrences of bridge strikes.
In coordination with the enforcement campaign, state police, the New York State Department of Transportation, the Thruway Authority and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee will raise awareness through various social media channels throughout the week.
Since the beginning of 2023, there have been 91 reported bridge strikes on the New York State Thruway’s 570-mile superhighway, compared to a total of 63 reported bridge strikes in all of 2022, a 44% increase from the prior year.
One of the most serious incidents included the South Broadway overpass in South Nyack, which was struck by an overheight tractor trailer on Aug. 31. Due to the hit, all southbound lanes of Interstate 87/287 were closed for 16 hours on Sept. 9 to facilitate the removal of two damaged girders to stabilize the overpass.
“Bridge hits due to overheight vehicles are almost always preventable,” Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Frank Hoare said. “The response and subsequent repairs not only disrupt traffic, but these incidents are also costly and prevent our maintenance and engineering teams from focusing on other essential duties to maintain a safe and reliable highway. The majority of commercial drivers follow the rules and ensure their loads are below the posted maximum height limits. We urge all truck drivers to check their height before each trip.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.