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Legislators Urge NYSDOT to Address Runaway Truck Accidents in Wurtsboro

Wurtsboro Truck Accident

Published in the Sullivan County Democrat, this photo shows firefighters rescuing a truck driver after an accident at the Wurtsboro four corners on April 11, 2023.

Monticello, NY – The Sullivan County Legislature’s Public Works Committee today unanimously agreed to ask the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) to use all means at its disposal to improve the safety of the intersection of U.S. Route 209 and Sullivan Street in the Village of Wurtsboro.

“That four-way intersection has seen numerous accidents going back decades, mostly due to heavy trucks whose brakes have overheated while coming down Wurtsboro Mountain Road (County Route 172) from Rock Hill,” explains District 9 Legislator Terry Blosser-Bernardo, who co-introduced today’s resolution with District 4 Legislator Nick Salomone. “Since the DOT owns and maintains the traffic lights at that intersection, it’s incumbent upon them to take action where we cannot – namely, to mitigate, as much as possible, these deadly and destructive accidents.”

“I travel through the Village regularly, and I’ve seen the damage that results when huge trucks careen down the hill,” affirms Legislator Salomone, who represents the Village of Wurtsboro on the Legislature. “We need to increase the safety of the Village, its businesses, its residents and truck drivers themselves, before another life is lost.”

The most recent runaway truck accidents occurred in February and April last year, resulting in thousands of dollars in damages and injuries to a truck driver.

According to the latest DOT data available, approximately 8,000 vehicles use that section of Route 209 every day, and around 5,100 use Sullivan Street, which becomes Wurtsboro Mountain Road/CR 172 west of the Village. Approximately 10% of that traffic consists of medium to heavy weight trucks, with nearly 200 trucks estimated to utilize Wurtsboro Mountain Road each day.

County officials are urging the State to assess alternate truck routes (using Route 17’s Exit 113 instead of 112, for example) and the potential efficacy of Traffic Signal Pre-emption Technology, which would install detectors under the pavement on Wurtsboro Mountain Road. The equipment could determine whether a heavy truck was speeding down the hill towards the Village, then activate signaling devices at the intersection to warn drivers and pedestrians of a potentially out-of-control vehicle.

“We cannot wait until another accident happens to take action,” says Blosser-Bernardo. “We need the State DOT to come up with effective solutions and put them into place as soon as possible. It will literally save lives.”