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Alden tractor-trailer issue stalled over lack on proper DOT signage

A potential solution to the increase in tractor-trailer traffic on West Main Street in Alden cannot move forward because the state Department of Transportation lacks the proper signage for the proposed changes.

The problem stems from a railroad bridge on Broadway, which measures 12 feet, 8 inches in the right lanes of the four-lane stretch of the road. While the bridge is too low for trucks to pass under in the right lanes, the middle lanes of the road can accommodate truck traffic. Truck drivers using enhanced GPS devices, however, are steered away from the bridge and re-routed to West Main Street, which is not set up for heavy truck traffic, said Town Engineer Michael Metzger.

The proposed plan by the Department of Transportation would restripe the road going under the bridge from a four-lane road to a two-lane road and eliminate the lanes under the low section of the bridge. Trucks needing to pull onto the shoulder of the new two-lane road would still be in danger of hitting the bridge, however, and the Department of Transportation does not have a sign warning trucks to stay off the shoulder, Metzger said.

“They can’t just put a sign up,” he said. “The signs that they use have to be signs that are built into their standards, and they don’t have one in their standards.”

State Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan’s office has reached out to the town and offered to “study” the issue, Metzger said.

“They’re going to see if they can help resolve the matter,” he said.

In the meantime, Metzger said he is going to approach the GPS companies and see if anything can be done.

“If the GPS companies can somehow make a notation of it in their systems, then it wouldn’t flag it for trucks,” he said. “They wouldn’t have to bypass or recommend a bypass.”

Both the town and village could place restrictions on truck traffic, Metzger said, but neither municipality is interested in doing that.

“They don’t want to take that recourse,” he said, “because then it’s harmful to the trucking industry, and they don’t want to do that.”

In other board news, Alden Town Hall is receiving three new hot water tanks after the one being used broke down, Supervisor Harry “Bud” Milligan said.

“We’re going to put strategic, little portable hot water tanks around in the different offices,” he said. The total cost of the tanks is $1,850.