Truck stuck under rail-trail bridge — yet again

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

The century-old railroad bridge over New Scotland Road

SLINGERLANDS — On Tuesday, Nov. 16 — following two similar incidents in May and one in June — a truck got stuck under the Albany County Rail Trail Bridge.

The concrete truck, registered to Cranesville Block, was traveling west on New Scotland Road when it struck the bridge at about 2:40 p.m. on Tuesday, according to a release from Bethlehem Police.

The truck became lodged beneath the bridge, closing the road to traffic for several hours until it could be removed.

Representatives from Albany County Public Works and the state’s Department of Transportation were at the scene, surveying the damage to the bridge. The bridge was determined to be safe and the roadway was reopened to traffic.

The driver, Shane N. Holt, age 53 of Queensbury, was charged with disobeying a traffic-control device.

On June 25, a Brooklyn man driving an Enterprise rental truck, which was too tall to clear the underpass, got stuck under the bridge.

On May 22, a box truck, also a rental, traveling east on Route 85 struck the underpass. Just two days before, a 13 foot, 6 inch high tractor trailer had gotten stuck beneath the same underpass as it was traveling west on Route 85.

Warning signs posted on Route 85 show the bridge height to be 11 feet, 2 inches.

Albany County acquired the bridge in 2009, as part of its purchase of the nine-mile stretch of railway that runs between the Port of Albany and Voorheesville — now known as Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail.

Built in 1912, the bridge has been in rough shape for some time. In 2019, the county said the bridge had been struck by vehicles passing beneath it nine times in the past 11 years. 

A 2008 report said that the bridge’s structural steel and much of its concrete were in “very poor condition.”

A 2017 inspection by the New York State Department of Transportation said that the structure was in such bad shape, its deficiencies could “significantly impact” the bridge’s “load carrying capacity.” In 2018, the county made temporary repairs to the bridge.

And in 2019, the county decided on a $1.9 million plan to remove the 42-foot wide existing bridge and replace it with a two-girder structure that is 14 feet wide, raising the structure to 15 feet, 6 inches above the roadway to meet state requirements.

Construction on the new bridge was to start in the summer of 2020 but the pandemic has interfered in two ways with the project, Mary Rozak, spokeswoman for Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy, told The Enterprise in May.

First, COVID-19 caused a delay in construction and then, subsequently, there was pending litigation and pandemic restrictions stopped court proceedings, said Rozak, calling it “a weird convergence.”

Rozak said then she couldn’t give details on the litigation but stated, “Bonding is already in place to move the project forward once it is settled.”

On Wednesday, Rozak said, “We are expecting a decision regarding the litigation sometime in February.”

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