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Westchester County Executive Says Enough With So-Called Bridge Strikes On The Hutch

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – There's a call to do more to keep trucks off a busy parkway in Weschester County, where they keep smashing into overpasses and snarling traffic.

It has been happening despite increased warning signs and the addition of infrared detection systems. But are those systems working?

Countywide on parkways, there were 46 so-called "bridge strikes" three years ago. As CBS2's Tony Aiello reported, we're on track for 80 this year – most on the Hutchinson River Parkway.

There are warnings overhead and on the road, electronic signs and overheight detection units. Yet, the problem of trucks wandering onto the Hutch and hitting overpasses has only gotten worse since 2015.

"They've put all kinds of notices, before and after, and they put all kinds of things. But it still happens," one driver told Aiello.

County Executive George Latimer says enough.

"There's the inconvenience and the backup, and sometimes it can be multiple hours," he said.

He is now convening a summit with the trucking industry and the state Department of Transportation, which maintains the Hutch, to discuss what more must be done to stop the bridge strikes.

They might want to start by reviewing current measures in place, Aiello reported.

It is legal an safe for CBS2 to drive its live truck on the Hutch, but crews know from years of driving in the area, it's tall enough to always set off the overheight detector as you enter the parkway from Westchester Avenue.

Aiello drove that route twice Friday and both times the overheight system failed to detect the truck and failed to illuminate the warning sign.

Father down the parkway, a second warning system also did not trigger, perhaps because the dish that receives the sign has been pushed out of position and is facing the woods, Aiello reported. He also found a "passenger cars only" sign toppled into the weeds.

Aiello shared what he found with the county executive, who promptly called the state and urged the DOT to fix the problems.

"We don't maintain those things, but that doesn't matter. The important thing is that they get fixed, they get put back into working order and they actually work," said Latimer.

The state DOT said it is working to get the overhead detection systems operational once more.

Latimer said the DOT and the trucking industry have to come to his summit with solutions.

Most of the bridge strikes on the parkways are caused by out-of-state truckers who don't know the local roads and are navigating by smartphone, instead of using a special commercial truck GPS, Aiello reported.

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