It’s a problem that’s been ongoing and one Bronx assemblyman says enough is enough.
Trucks getting wedged under the elevated #4 IRT line structure has been quite a headache in Assemblyman Victor Pichardo’s distict.
When a full size large tractor-trailer’s roof was peeled back like a sardine can at the intersection of Jerome Avenue and Cameron Place on Thursday February 7, Pichardo had seen it all.
“It takes about four to five hours to clean up the mess afterwards,” the assemblyman said, noting how the truck’s removal snarls traffic. This instance was at least the tenth time it has happened since he became assemblyman in 2013.
One of the worst occurances happened when a car carrying tractor-trailer didn’t clear the train structure, pushing four vehicles off the truck to the street below in 2017.
“The situation is incredibly frustrating,” he added.
Pichardo explained that the intersections of East 181st Street and Jerome Avenue as well as E 176th Street and Jerome Avenue are the most troublesome low clearance locations.
Since that portion of Jerome Avenue sloops downward from north to south, the height of the trestle decreases at several locations to the point where the average tractor-trailer doesn’t clear the structure.
The NYC Department of Transportation has afixed ‘Maximun Clearance’ signs throughout the troublesome stretch of Jerome Avenue. The areas that have a height limit posted at 12’ 4” seem to be causing the crashes.
One trestle crossmember has been hit so often its steel has been literally bent downwards, reducing the location’s actual clearance another one and a half inches.
“So clearly it’s not the exact height posted,” Pichardo said pointing to one of the bent frames on Friday, February 8.
He cited three main causes for the traffic nightmare, the first being that truck drivers are either unaware or ignoring the clearance signs as well as being unfamiliar with the truck route.
“Certain trucks aren’t even allowed to pass through streets like Jerome Avenue, so many of the ones that get stuck shouldn’t even be on that road (to start with),” he added saying, that businesses that expect truck deliveries also have a responsibility to ensure their trucks are taking the proper routes and warning the drivers about the clearance restrictions.
“We have to be aggressive enforcing that with the NYPD,” Pichardo said.
He also mentioned that some of the height signage on Jerome Avenue is inaccurate due to blacktopping and road repair work, which is also contributing to a thicker roadbed.
Pichardo is currently working with DOT to meet and come up with a more realistic solution for the problem at hand.
“As officials we have to do a better job as well,” the assemblyman admitted.
Fittingly enough, as of press time, another tractor-trailer became wedged under the same bent frame as the one last week at East 181st Street and Cameron Avenue.