Hudson Releases Truck Study
Study Finds Alternate Routes to Improve Health, Safety, and Quality of Life
Regardless of geography, everyone in Columbia County deserves a safe place to live. The new report by MJ Engineering & Land Surveying, P.C. (MJ) paves the way to improve the lives of Columbia County residents by analyzing truck traffic and proposing two alternate routes that will benefit health and safety, economy, and quality of life.
Analyzing the existing truck route, the report found that the movement of trucks through some of the county’s densest neighborhoods, where housing is very close to the street, contributes to potential air pollution and health problems. The heavy truck weights and loads also can cause damage to the sewer and water infrastructure under the road — something most roads in Columbia County don’t have. The existing route’s narrow streets, sharp curves, and frequent intersections also contributed to a high rate of crashes involving trucks.
“We are thankful for hard-working truck drivers who support businesses by bringing supplies into and out of our communities,” says Mayor Kamal Johnson. “By using one of the two alternate routes, trucks will be where they can operate most effectively and safely: on routes that do not traverse dense residential neighborhoods. Thank you to Assemblymember Barrett for securing the funding for this project, to the public for providing input, and to MJ for the detailed and thorough study. I will continue to work with our Columbia County neighbors and New York State on this important improvement."
When the truck route was first routed through Hudson, it was designed for a previous era. Trucks and commercial freight have vastly changed over the decades, increasing in size and weight. By rerouting truck traffic that doesn’t have a Hudson destination, county residents, businesses, and drivers can have a safer, better quality of life.
After careful study, MJ recommends two route options for further study to replace the current route through Hudson. One route uses portions of US Route 9, and another uses portions of NY Route 66 and 9H. Both options significantly reduce truck volumes along Green Street and 3rd Street, the most densely developed sections of the existing truck route with narrow streets.
Both options utilize mostly existing state and federal highways that are already constructed to accommodate the heavy vehicles that use truck routes. These state and federal highways presently accommodate truck traffic, and the additional rerouted through trucks will not result in significant impacts to existing traffic conditions.
The proposed route options have the lowest impacts to residential and agricultural properties within the study area. These options also have the least impact to historical properties. They are not expected to contribute additional truck traffic past the historic homes on NY Route 23B near the Hamlet of Claverack. The options have been estimated to cost between $1.4 to 3.1 million and are the lowest cost options, requiring the least construction or reconstruction of new or existing roads. Neither require new bridges or culverts to be constructed.
The recommended route options only impact through truck traffic, and local deliveries to places in Hudson would continue. Based on the data collected and analyzed as part of the study, the two route options have been estimated to reduce truck traffic in Hudson by 26% - 40%.
“Truck traffic has been a major safety and quality of life issue in the historic City of Hudson for many decades, and I was pleased to secure $100,000 in the New York State budget for this origin-and-destination traffic study to collect the data to develop a viable alternative truck route,” said Assemblymember Didi Barrett. “Now that the study has been completed and recommendations made, I look forward to working with the City and neighboring towns to create a plan that works for all our communities. I thank Third Ward Supervisor Michael Chameides, Mayor Johnson, and MJ Engineering for their hard work, and look forward to seeing this project move to its next phase.”
In creating the alternate truck routes, potential social, economic, and environmental impacts were considered. The report also includes construction and planning measures to mitigate any detrimental effects of the new alternate routes. In addition, it includes applicable social, economic, and environmental laws and regulations and identifies the studies, permits, and approvals necessary for future phases of this project.
MJ began the study by collecting data in Hudson to provide a clear overall picture of the existing truck traffic moving through the city, including volumes, entering point, exit point, and routes traveled. MJ solicited feedback through multiple online surveys, public information meetings, and stakeholder meetings. A wide range of perspectives were expressed. “We need semi-large delivery trucks to bring goods to stated local businesses,” said one respondent, “but once you add tractor trailers cutting through you have increased the damage danger and detriment exponentially.”
Based on the data, public comment, and roadway characteristics, MJ prioritized possible alternate truck route options on existing roadways. The engineering firm identified 12 possible options, then narrowed those to five preferred options, then with further study, identified the two recommended truck route options.
The 811-page report concludes Phase 1 of the project. It includes alternate truck routes, maps, comparison and rankings, potential improvements for preferred routes options, short to medium-term mitigation treatments, order of magnitude costs for each preferred route option, and comprehensive data. Future phases will include continued engagement with neighboring municipalities, the New York State Department of Transportation, and New York State to adopt preferred alternate routes.
In order for the truck route to be changed, the following needs to occur: the creation and documentation of a feasibility study; coordination with local and state officials; investigation of the route identifying costs, impacts, upgrades required, and environmental impacts; submission of a request to the NYSDOT Regional Office/Counties involved; completion of traffic impact studies; continuation of public involvement; passing of new legislation; and compliance with the New York Vehicle & Traffic Law.
The need for a truck study is a longstanding priority for the City of Hudson. The 2002 City of Hudson Comprehensive Plan states: “The [State Truck Route is] forcing trucks to pass through residential neighborhoods and are significantly deteriorating the quality, and in some cases historic integrity, of these homes. Further, trucks are required to make turns on urban streets that were not engineered to meet their turning radius needs… Consequently, a comprehensive truck study should be accomplished.”
The 2011 Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan states, “The City intends to work with State and Federal representatives to address the impact of non-local truck traffic through the City.”
“The truck study has collected and analyzed the data. Now we have two great options to improve safety and economy,” says Michael Chameides, Columbia County Supervisor (Hudson-3). “An updated route would benefit county residents, and we need to move forward with the next stage of feasibility study.”
View the final Feasibility Study
Truck Route Chart - Summary Data
Preferred Alternate Route - Option 6
Preferred Alternate Route - Option 12