Jefferson County Asks State To Reconsider Route 81 Ban

Jefferson County Asks State To Reconsider Route 81 Ban

Posted: Updated:
Courtesy: Denise Quinn Courtesy: Denise Quinn
Courtesy: Kelly Fisher Courtesy: Kelly Fisher

Jefferson County is asking the state to re-evaluate its ban on tractor trailers on Interstate 81.

Legislature Chair Scott Gray says side roads, such as Route 11, are essentially shut down due to congestion caused by big rigs getting stuck.

On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo banned all tractor trailers and commercial buses from Interstate 81 from the Canadian border to State Route 104 in Oswego County for the duration of the storm. His office on Thursday said there are no plans to rescind that ban.

Jefferson County officials have reached out to Governor Cuomo to make sure he knows about the traffic problems being caused by the 81 ban.

"That's a real concern for us right now, whether that is actually working or creating more problems," said Gray.

Since the ban was announced, the governor has repeatedly said that truckers who ignore it will be ticketed and even brought up on criminal charges.

One trucker we spoke with said it might just be best for everyone to stay off of any road.

"I think the best thing we should do is shut down. Don't go at all. Here or 81, just shut down," said Ibrahim Sawaneh, a trucker who was stopped on Route 11. 

A number of truckers were diverted to Route 11 near Adams, but many of them had to be towed up a hill headed south out of the village.

For truckers passing through, Route 11 was there best option after the governor banned them from using I-81.

"They closed 81 and we all gotta come on Route 11 and it's backed up. I think 81 would be better," said David Martin, trucker. 

"This right here, we thought it was gonna be easy, but when we got here, we got stuck, man," said Sawaneh.

One viewer posted video of the traffic backup on Route 11. Denise Quinn posted the following comment: "Route 11 south of Adams, the tractor trailers can’t make the hills and will have to be towed! Cuomo should be here to see this!!"

Another viewer, Kelly Fisher, wrote, ""I've been sitting at the bottom of the big hill a few miles before Adams for 4 hrs because the tractor trailers can't get up the hill. Hundreds of cars and trucks."

Meanwhile, there were reports of jackknifed tractor trailers on Route 189 in the town of Adams.

Route 177 between Jefferson and Lewis counties was also closed due to multiple crashes.

According to Gray, a mail carrier suffered a heart attack on the Lewis County side of Route 177 and sheriff's deputies are trying to reach that person by snowmobile.

Lewis County Sheriff Mike Carpinelli confirmed a mail carrier suffered a cardiac event and that the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office sent its snowmobiles in to to the scene. There was no official word on the man's condition.

Carpinelli also said there are several accidents on 177 with multiple cars off the road. He said there were no injuries.

Jefferson and Lewis counties have issued no-unnecessary travel advisories until further notice.

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