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GPS may be to blame for truck traffic on West Main Street in Alden

Enhanced GPS units made for truck drivers may be behind the increase in tractor-trailer traffic on West Main Street in the Town of Alden.

The problem stems from a railroad bridge on Broadway which measures at 12 feet 8 inches at its low point in the right lane of the road. Although the right lane is too low for trucks to pass under, they are able to pass under the bridge using the center lane. However, because of a sign on the bridge showing that it is 12-by-8, GPS units re-direct the trucks, said Town Engineer Michael Metzger at a work session Monday night.

“The bridge shows up on the GPS as too low,” he said. “It sends them down West Main Street, which is a residential street and shouldn’t have trucks on it.”

Representatives from the state and county were on-hand to brainstorm possible solutions to the problem. During the discussion, Town Supervisor Harry Milligan made it clear that the truckers were not to blame for the issue.

“We don’t want to penalize the truckers,” he said.

One suggested solution involved having the state come in and take the road down by six inches, which was quickly dismissed by Thomas Messana from the NYS Department of Transportation.

“That’s not going to happen,” he said. “We can barely keep roads paved.”

The bridge is going to be re-measured by the state, Messana said, and the results will be forwarded to the town.

In the meantime, the town is also going to look into contacting several companies who provide GPS devices to truckers, and see if any changes can be made to keep truck traffic on Broadway, Metzger said.

In other work session news, the town is starting to consider ideas for the tennis court-turned winter ice rink in Alden Town Park and some additional land that may be coming from the state.

“We have to look at the needs we might have in the parks system,” Metzger said. “We have to fill those needs. What is it today, and what will it be 10 years from now.”

Possible uses include storage space and more parking.

“The ice rink lends itself to being a parking lot,” Milligan said.

The board plans to meet with the recreation department in the future and figure out long-term plans, Metzger said.

“There are all sorts of things that should be considered,” he said. “Let’s start getting everyone thinking about those things.”