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Better signage may prevent trucks from smashing into Holley bridge

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 October 2014 at 12:00 am

Editorial

Photos by Tom Rivers – Workers from Lyons Heavy Towing and Recovery in Medina are on the scene when a tractor trailer was pinned under a railroad bridge on Monday.

HOLLEY – Monday afternoon another trucker hauling a load of goods out of Holley got stuck under a railroad bridge.

The bridge was high enough for the truck and the front end of the trailer. However, as the trucker headed up an incline on Route 237 the trailer got stuck under the bridge.

Traffic on South Main Street was closed for about three hours. The trucker was from Florida with a load of French fries. He had his trailer hauled to Medina for repairs.

The stuck trucks is a frequent occurrence in Holley. About three weeks ago another truck was stuck under the bridge for about seven hours.

Firefighters and a police officer on the scene cast blame on the truck driver on Monday. He was ticketed for failure to observe a traffic control device.

“The problem is they don’t read,” a firefighter said about the truckers and their inability to follow the clearance signs.

I’m not so sure the truckers see the signs – in time to stop. There are two small clearance signs – 11′-11”  CLEARANCE – posted just before both sides of the bridge. The bridge also has clearance signs on the steel sides. But by the time truckers see those signs, it’s too late.

The DOT has other clearance signs posted about a quarter mile in each direction. Those signs are yellow and also say “11′-11”.” The one on the south side of the bridge near Hillside Cemetery is clearly visible on the east side of the road, as a driver heads down a hill. But the one on South Main Street near Geddes Street is obstructed by a tree.

A clearance sign is positioned to the right of the road, in front of a tree, making it difficult to see.

Here is a closer view of the sign not too far from the tree.

I missed seeing the sign near Geddes Street on Tuesday when a drove down the street, looking for signs that might warn there was a bridge ahead. This sign should be placed away from a tree or the tree should be trimmed. I bet many of truckers don’t see this warning sign.

Truckers don’t have a straight shot view of the bridge in either direction. I think it catches many of them by surprise. They round a bend and the bridge is right there, too late to stop.

Holley Mayor John Kenney said the bridge has been hit on a regular basis since he moved to Holley in 1964. Many of the truckers report their GPS directs them to drive under the bridge.

This truck has room to pass underneath the bridge that was built in 1905.

Holley officials have tried to get that changed, to have the GPS systems not route truckers by the bridge.

Kenney has also asked nearby manufacturing plants, cold storages and food processors to tell truckers not to use the route by the bridge.

It seems clear the current strategy isn’t working, and the DOT and village need to try harder. I think more signs would help, and perhaps some with outlines of a tractor trailer with an X on it so it’s clear they should avoid the bridge.

The bridge was built in 1905. It gets looked over after every accident by Genesee Valley Transportation, which operates the railroad. That bridge is already over 100 years old and isn’t being helped with all the shots it takes from the tractor trailers.

The local officials shouldn’t just blame the truckers, especially because this is such a frequent problem. Better signage may prevent some of these mishaps.