This is key reason why toll roads do not work to alleviate congestion - truckers, like motorists, avoid paying tolls. It displaces truck traffic onto local roads causing them to be unsafe and failing to solve congestion. This social engineering taking place with toll roads needs to stop before these bureaucrats and greedy politicians seriously mess up our highway network.
Pols: Trucks hop off toll highways to avoid paying, then eat up time and local roads
By Hema Easley
Some elected officials are calling on the state Department of Transportation to stop trucks from traveling on sections of routes 17 and 32 between Sloatsburg in Rockland County and Newburgh.
Assemblyman James Skoufis, D-Woodbury, sent a formal request to the DOT last week asking that it review its current designation of “Route 17 (Thruway Exit 15A to Woodbury) and Route 32 (Woodbury to New Windsor) as access routes.”
According to Skoufis, many northbound trucks get off the Thruway at exit 15A in Sloatsburg and Suffern to avoid the Harriman toll plaza, which could cost as much as $5.75. They then travel on Routes 17 until Woodbury, and pick up Route 32 headed north until they return to the Thruway in Newburgh. Many trucks traveling south do the reverse, he said.
Skoufis said he was calling for the change because the current situation is a safety hazard. Under DOT’s own policies, he said, truck access routes must be at least 10 feet wide. But in some areas, such as Ledge Road in Sloatsburg, Route 17 is just eight feet wide, according to Skoufis and Sloatsburg Mayor Carl Wright.
In addition, road maintenance costs rise with truck traffic, congestion results, and many kinds of economic developments like outdoor cafes and restaurants are not possible, the letter said.
“I think we have a strong case,” said Skoufis.
Beau Duffy, a spokesman for the DOT, said the department had received Skoufis’ letter and was reviewing it.
New Windsor Supervisor George Green said he was particularly troubled by the problems trucks caused on Route 32 at Vails Gate, at the five-way intersection in town that is surrounded by businesses.
“The more truck traffic we can take off local roads, the better,” said Green, who has discussed the problem with Skoufis.
Wright, whose letter detailing concerns accompanied Skoufis’, said some of the trucks carried dangerous cargo such as gas, chemicals and other hazardous material on Route 17, the village’s main thoroughfare, which is also used by pedestrians and includes several school bus stops.
He said residents’ well-being “should not be compromised because truck companies do not wish to pay a toll.”