Also, Nelsonville continues storm-related follow-up

“Keep on truckin’” became popilar years ago, but Nelsonville residents don’t want it applied to large vehicles on Peekskill Road — especially not at 4:30 a.m.

Narrow and old, with minimal — at best — shoulders, Peekskill Road connects two state highways, Routes 9D and 301. Vehicles of all sizes use it at all times of day, apparently as a shortcut or to avoid the traffic light in Cold Spring. The speed limit is 30 mph, and over the years, local residents have complained about speeding cars and other hazards.

The latest worry: The number of large trucks “has increased drastically in the last four years,” according to Alan Potts, who spoke at the Nelsonville Village Board meeting on Monday (Sept. 18).

Potts, a teacher and former board member who lives on Main Street at the Peekskill Road intersection, rises early to commute. “At 4:30 in the morning, all these trucks are lined up,” trying to turn from the road onto Route 301 (Main Street). “Everybody has to stop … wait, back up,” he said. As they maneuver, he hears “air brakes and gearing down,” and a sound he mimicked that resembled a stalled, struggling machine gun. “It’s just horrible.”

Trustee Dave Moroney, a resident of Fishkill Avenue, a few blocks away, observed that the traffic occurs in late afternoon as well and that the trucks, mostly based in Rockland County, serve regional quarries. They cross the Hudson River, drive along Route 9D and Peekskill Road, turn onto Route 301, and then, beyond Nelsonville, onto Route 9, before picking up I-84 in Fishkill, he explained.

Instead, they are supposed to travel on Route 9W, on the west side of the Hudson, to reach I-84, he said. In fact, he recalled, the state widened 9W to accommodate them.

Peekskill Road bridge
Peekskill Road includes a stone span. (Photo by L.S. Armstrong)

A small bridge crosses Foundry Brook on Peekskill Road. Potts said he contacted the county highway department and was told the bridge, which the county calls a culvert, has a weight limit of 20 tons. Potts expressed concern that some trucks crossing it weigh more and was told that no cause for alarm exists unless trucks stop.

Peekskill Road, also known as Route 16, “is a half-mile of county road” and Putnam could easily impose restrictions, which would also prevent trucks from driving on Route 9D, where residents have complained about their speed, Potts said.

That “would be wonderful,” Nelsonville Mayor Chris Winward remarked.

Potts emphasized that “I’m not against people making a living. But I am against 11 to 14 trucks, coming every friggin’ morning, from 4:30 on.”

Putnam’s highway department recently merged with other offices into the Department of Public Works. Thomas Feighery, its newly appointed director, did not respond to a request for comment about the situation.

Winward tied the truck problem to other traffic issues. “I don’t know what the solution can be,” she said. “But it’s multi-jurisdictional. It’s all interconnected, whether it’s trucks or it’s commuters using Nelsonville as a thoroughfare.”

In other business, Winward reported ongoing efforts by the village to obtain aid for repairs to damage from July’s storms. She said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) scheduled an on-site review for early October.

“It’s going to be a long process, and arduous,” she said. How much money might be needed “is the million-dollar question. We hope it’s not a million dollars, though.” The mayor also cautioned that federal funding for individual homeowners looks less likely than municipal assistance.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Armstrong was the founding news editor of The Current (then known as in 2010 and later a senior correspondent and contributing editor for the paper. She worked earlier in Washington as a White House correspondent and national affairs reporter and assistant news editor for daily international news services. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Areas of expertise: Politics and government

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