No timeline for W. Genesee Street Bridge project as crashes continue

A tractor trailer slammed into the railroad overpass on West Genesee Street in Syracuse on Thursday morning.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – A tractor trailer slammed into the railroad overpass on West Genesee Street in Syracuse on Thursday morning.

Traffic was rerouted for over three hours during rush hour while police investigated the crash.

Syracuse police said the driver, from Pennsylvania, wasn't hurt.

Business owners along West Genesee Street say it's common to see tractor trailers wedged under the railroad bridge.

"Driving into work, coming down the side street, Fayette, I'd see the trailers sitting in the parking lot and the roof would be peeled open like a sardine can," said Brian Edson, owner of C&B Auto. "I'd know oh someone hit the bridge again.”

The issue hit a nerve in January of 2012 when several cows were euthanized after a cattle trailer slammed into the overpass.

It appeared then that the city of Syracuse was finalizing plans to lower the road below the bridge by 18 inches.

At the time, Sergeant Tom Connellan with the Syracuse Police Department understood, "They are currently in the final planning stages to get that plan to the New York State Department of Transportation, get the final plan approved, then they're hopeful they can put it out to bid so they can start construction this summer."

That was a year and a half ago. Since then, several tractor trailers have crashed into the bridge.

There are two signs warning drivers, both say there is 11'6 of clearance.

In January Connellan explained that the actual clearance is 12'6, but New York State law requires that signage shows a foot less than actual clearance.

Many tractor trailers exceed 12 feet in height.

"The City of Syracuse has been aware of a problem with this bridge for some time. City engineers have a plan to correct the problem by lowering the roadway 18 inches. This project has been bid and is in the final stages of administrative review and contract execution and then we will begin meeting with our contractors to determine a timeline. Ensuring the safety of our roadways is a top priority for the City of Syracuse. We remind motorists to watch for warning signs."
With no clear timeline Edson expects his customers and delivery trucks to get caught in a few more detours.

The bid the city is working to finalize will total nearly $2.2 million worth of work.

"It does slow down deliveries and it's kind of a hindrance with traffic,” explained Edson. "Everybody has got their own stories about what is going to happen with it, but so far nothing has happened with it."

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