Route 81 Ban Lifted For Big Rigs, Angry Trucker Speaks Out

Route 81 Ban Lifted For Big Rigs, Angry Trucker Speaks Out

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The ban on tractor trailers and commercial buses on Interstate 81 was lifted Friday afternoon.

At noon on Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo banned the vehicles from I-81 from the Canadian border to State Route 104 in Oswego County. It was all because of the intense snowfall in the region.

The ban resulted in problems for side roads in Jefferson County.  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.

The influx of tractor trailers on Route 11 created headaches for some motorists, who reported being stuck in traffic for hours.

Before the ban was lifted at 2 p.m. Friday, the interstate was clear, yet truckers were still not allowed on Route 81.

Local driver Matt Hoover with Philly Fuels got on that clear I-81 in Oswego County before the ban was lifted and got ticketed by state police. 

We talked to Hoover before the ban ended.

"I can understand when there's zero visibility closing the road, but there's a time to lift the ban and that time is long past. The road is perfectly clear. They just haven't lifted the ban and apparently someone told them to go out and start writing tickets. I'm going to fight this ticket. I'm going to fight all these tickets," said Hoover.

Chief of staff for the state's Department of Transportation, Todd Westhuis, told 7 News he was in Watertown during the storm and the ban was lifted after he and state police ran the interstate.

He said the state doesn't take this lightly; they want to keep everyone safe, and while each situation will be handled differently, pushing tractor trailers to other highways is done because of lower speeds and less risk on those roads.

Jefferson County asked the state to re-evaluate its ban Thursday, but Cuomo's office said on Thursday there were no plans to rescind it during the storm.

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