The town of Darien and the state Department of Transportation are taking steps to reduce the number of oversized trucks that routinely get stuck under the Metro-North bridge over the Post Road.
The short-term improvements include installing "low bridge" pavement markings and warning signs on Interstate 95 near exits 11 and 13. The bridge is 10 feet, 9 inches, while the average height of a tractor trailer is 13 feet, 6 inches, according to the Trucker's Report, a professional drivers' network.
The height of the overpass is limited and non-standard vertical clearance, according to the Southwestern Regional Planning Agency's 2012 Route 1 Corridor Study. In 2011, the study stated, new clearance warning signs were installed on Tokeneke Road and West and Mansfield avenues that indicated the height of the bridge.
Additionally, signs will be added along Post Road before the bridge. All vertical clearance signs at and leading up to the bridge on several of the state roads will be replaced and reflective yellow tape will be adhered on either side of the bridge so that traffic from both directions will be made aware of the low clearance of the bridge.
"While (the yellow tape) will catch your eye, it's intended to catch your eye," Stevenson said. "They are meant for trucks that are above 11 feet tall."
The intermediate improvements, which Stevenson said hadn't yet been scheduled or budgeted, include the installation of a height warning system, which will be set off by a laser or camera. The trigger will activate flashers on a sign mounted on the bridge and will turn all of the lights at the intersections just before the bridge red so
that the oversized trucks can't get through.
"I'm very eager to learn about their project schedule," Stevenson said.
At the June 17 Board of Selectmen meeting, Stevenson said she had met with representatives of the DOT, Metro-North Railroad, New York state police, Darien police and SWRPA to determine solutions to reduce the number of bridge strikes. Stevenson said she had anticipated solutions to be presented at the end of June.
The last bridge strike took place on June 17 and was the third to occur in a 12-month period.
The greater majority of strikes are caused by trucks going northbound on the Post Road, Stevenson said. She doesn't believe the strikes cause any significant damage because the trucks are moving at a slow rate of speed. She said that every time a bridge is struck, the state sends an inspector to evaluate it.
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