The New York State Department of Transportation has banned buses and tractor-trailers from traveling on various routes in the eastern portion of the state as the region braces for a potent snowstorm.
The ban, which also includes high-profile vehicles such as tandem-trailers and box trucks, went into effect at 8 am March 7.
The ban covers the New York Thruway from Syracuse to New York City. The Thruway, which includes portions of Interstates 90 and 87, stretches across the state. The ban also applies to the Berkshire Spur, which leads to the Massachusetts state line, as well as I-95, the Garden State Parkway Connector and I-287. It also extends to portions of I-84 and I-88.
A winter storm warning remains in effect for much of New York City – follow @NotifyNYC for updates throughout the day. Travel with caution and use mass transit when possible.— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 7, 2018
Kendra Hems, executive director of the Trucking Association of New York, said her office received the notice about the ban around 10:30 pm March 6. She said the late hour of the notice, and the early hour that the ban went into effect, has stymied freight movement for some of the association’s members.
The trucking association’s headquarters are located in Clifton Park, which is 12 miles north of Albany. Hems said heavy snowfall started in the area at about 1:30 pm.
“We’ve heard from many members that are frustrated trying to figure out what to do because they have loads that had been loaded last night in anticipation of delivery today,” Hems said. “Many of these roads have been restricted for the better part of the day, and they’ve been perfectly clear. [It’s] not necessarily an issue that during that portion of the storm that the ban would be unwarranted or that they could’ve put the ban in place preemptively, but to start the ban at 8 am this morning, we think, was a bit extreme.”
The travel advisory was coordinated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Thruway Authority, and NYSDOT. Hems said she does not know when the ban will be lifted. She said the last major ban that she can remember occurred during Winter Storm Stella, which buried New York under four feet of snow last March.
According to the National Weather Service, New Yorkers should expect up to a foot of snow during this storm. NWS’ winter storm warning remains in effect until early Thursday morning.
“We certainly understand the need for safety and to keep the motoring public safe, and there are times when restrictions are warranted, but we have to find a better balance of how we put those restrictions in place,” Hems said. “We’re not necessarily arguing that restrictions wouldn’t be warranted for this storm, but we’re questioning the time of the announcement and the time of the effect.”