NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — There was a victory Thursday, for a community doing battle against extra-long trucks.
Residents were the last to know when their suburban road was suddenly designated a major truck route, but CBS2 demanded answers and now, a Long Island town has voted to rescind the designation.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, did it come too late?
Residents of Syosset, Hicksville, Plainview, and Bethpage united to put the brakes on enormous tractor trailers, tandem trucks, and 65-foot car carriers inundating South Oyster Bay Road. The 3-mile main drag had suddenly morphed into a regional access highway.
“We were the last to know. We found this out on our own and brought it to our own councilwoman and legislator,” Tanya Lucasik, founder, Operation Stomp said.
Oyster Bay town officials said they missed the only letter the New York State Department of Transportation sent giving local governments 30 days to weigh in on the change which was requested by Fed Ex, building a new hub at the Gumman site in Bethpage.
“Because no one had ever dealt with an access highway before it unfortunately slipped through the cracks,” Oyster Bay Councilwoman, Rebecca Alesia said.
On Tuesday night, the town attempted to undo the designation and unanimously banned big rigs on South Oyster Bay Road.
But, can they backtrack? The attorney for the Bethpage business park said the town ban may have no teeth and could end up detouring giant trucks onto the only alternatives like the already congested Route 106/107.
“Instead of having a straight route from the Long Island Expressway, trucks will have to go some circuitous routes,” Jeffrey Forchelli explained.
The DOT, with the final say, told CBS2 it will consult the Federal Highway Administration.
Residents have been working with the DOT to get the town’s ban to stick. They believe that if it can happen in Oyster Bay, it can happen anywhere.
Oyster Bay officials said their ban will take effect in a few weeks. It remains to be seen if the state will fight them.