Skip to content

With Hundreds Of Trucks Leaving The Thruway & I-81 For Local Roads Each Day, Schumer Introduces New Legislation To Help Keep Trucks Out Of CNY Neighborhoods To Restore Quality Of Life

Over 1.9 Million Trucks Travel Through The Central New York Every Year Many Drive On Local Roads As A Shortcut And To Avoid Weigh Stations, Tolls And Traffic

Senators Legislation Would Require All States To Establish Truck Routing Networks

Schumer: Truck Drivers Are Circumventing The Highway System, But Our Local Communities Are Paying The Price

With hundreds of trucks leaving the Thruway and I81 each day clogging local roads, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today unveiled his federal legislation to keep trucks out of Central New York neighborhoods and restore communities quality of life. Over 1.9 million trucks travel through Central New York every year, but many leave the highways and drive on local roads as a shortcut and to avoid weigh stations, tolls and traffic. Throughout the past few years, there have been numerous accidents spilling fuel, garbage and chemicals, with trucks disrupting communities at all hours of the day and night.

Truck drivers cannot be allowed to jump off the highway and rumble through town centers and back grounds just to save a buck, Schumer said. These trucks are evading highway tolls and weigh stations, and are instead driving on neighborhood streets, taxing the roadways and diminishing the quality of life in otherwise peaceful communities. This is a very unique and growing problem in this region. My legislation will go a long way to stem the rising tide of trucks rolling through Central New York communities.

Schumer today unveiled his new legislation to require states to establish routing systems for trucks carrying hazardous materials. Currently, states can voluntarily design hazardous materials truck routes. However, very few states have taken advantage of the program so far. This bill would make truck routing mandatory. In October, during a visit to Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles, Schumer promised that if the federal DOT did not set a new truck routing requirement for states on its own, he would introduce legislation that would require states to work with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to do so.

Hundreds of trucks carrying hazardous material travel through Central New York everyday transporting millions of tons of goods every year. Elsewhere around the country, trucks are mandated by state law to follow certain paths. These truck routes are created in order to keep trucks off small state and county roads. According to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) estimates, at least 500 trucks travel on small roads around Syracuse and the Finger Lakes each day, including State Route 20, County Route 41 and other roadways.

The Seneca Meadows landfill in Waterloo alone sees traffic of over 200 trucks a day. This landfill is scheduled to expand and grow, meaning more loud, malodorous trucks passing through neighboring communities. The New York State Thruway Authority reports that the number of commercial vehicles exiting the Thruway in the Syracuse area has more than doubled since 2003. However, the only place in New York State with any designated truck routes is New York City.

When traveling on the New York State Thruway and I81, trucks are required to pay tolls or stop for open weigh stations. However, trucks often take smaller state and county roads, day and night, as a less expensive shortcut. This practice is not only a nuisance to the citizens of the small communities these roads pass through, but is also an issue of safety.

Freight trucks haul everything from garbage to eggs, gasoline to milk. The small roads in and around Central New York and the Finger Lakes that truckers use instead of the Thruway and I81 cannot handle these large vehicles. The local roads were not built for the extreme weights and are inadequate to handle the volume of traffic they must carry, which has led to considerable wear and tear on the pavement. Many of the roads have sharp turns and steep inclines. The truck traffic has also had a detrimental effect on the aging buildings and the overall quality of life in the communities. The foundations of many buildings have cracked from vibrations of large trucks. A building owner in downtown Skaneateles had to replace windows from $30,000 after the steel window panes shook and cracked from the vibrations of the trucks. The owner of the Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles has received complaints from his guests that trucks passing by during the night prevent them from enjoying their stay.

If a truck transporting goods were to overturn, a dangerous environmental situation could occur. New York State Routes 20, 41 and 41A border Skaneateles Lake, and a spill could affect the entire countys drinking water supply. According to the Skaneateles Police Chief, 200 garbage trucks (18 wheelers) carrying up to 300 gallons of diesel fuel apiece, pass through the community every day. Recently, two separate accidents have occurred where a truck flipped over on Route 41 by the lake.