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Thread: 53 Foot Trailers in New York City

  1. #1
    chapchap70 is offline Member
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    Default 53 Foot Trailers in New York City

    Did you know this is not allowed except to get to Long Island via the Throgs Neck Bridge?

    http://dot.state.ny.us/info/faq.html


    I have a copy of the New York Vehicle & Traffic Law and section 385 is 22 pages long. I guess it is clear enough if you get a magnifying glass. :roll:

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    Right. Correct me if Im wrong,but 53's are not allowed in New York City. That is why you never drive for anyone who has 48's :P

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    What??? Ive been to NYC in a 53'... sent there by the company!! I wouldnt do it for fun

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    chapchap70 is offline Member
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    Default More info

    It's amazing what you find when you are looking for something else.


    http://www.dot.state.ny.us/traffic/desig_hwy.html


    I see a lot of 53' trailers in the city. I didn't know about this law and it surprised me when I found out. I have a CDL B so it doesn't affect me.

    This seems to be another one of those "unenforced" laws which is so great. The people who comply lose the work and there is no penalty given to the violators.


    By the way I am looking for New York Intrastate HOS regulations. I didn't work today because I was out of hours. (I guess I could have come in and drove the truck to a rest area and parked it.) The boss wasn't too happy when I told him. My work week is usually five days so it never came up before. I still can't seem to find anything so I am assuming they are the same as Interstate.

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    There are restrictions in the 5 Burrows in New York concerning length and width (I believe). I recall a few years ago hearing some owner operators and drivers telling me about them getting tickets with the 53' x 102" trailers. They don't always enforce the laws. I spoke to one guy who told me that he received tickets totaling several hundred dollars. :shock: I would double check before going into the city. I have never had a problem with a 53' trailer, but when they need to generate revenue, WATCH OUT!! :P

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    Quote Originally Posted by GMAN
    I spoke to one guy who told me that he received tickets totaling several hundred dollars. :shock:
    Say thousands!
    But they very rarely enforce it, except in Manhatten.
    Anyhow, i got a warranty from my company, that they will reimburse any money, in that case.
    One of our company drivers, got over $2,000 worth of tickets in

    Brooklyn! :shock:

    I'm doing NYC(except Manhatten), once, or if i'm lucky(money is good ), twice a week, so far so good... :roll:

    But, besides that, from GW to Troghs Neck(about 10 miles), you've got more chance of an accident, than crossing an entire states of PA and OH! :shock:
    Pessimist,- is just well informed optimist!

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    Over $2,000? Whoa!! :shock:

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    tweety bird is offline Senior Board Member
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    We go to Manhattan, Long Island, etc... all the time. With a 53 footer. Never been stopped. I hear you are supposed to get a permit for Manhattan. Heck- most of the cops out there don't know the laws...

    Ya gotta get to Jacob Javitz somehow...

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    chapchap70 is offline Member
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    If one wants to be compliant in New York City, he must use a 48' or less trailer. I think the maximum width is 96".

    The only way a 53' trailer is allowed through New York City to Long Island is via I 95 South from the Westchester County line to I 295 to the Throgs Neck Bridge to I 495 East. This would mean that the George Washington Bridge is a no no for 53 footers. Since there are a couple of posted clearances of about 12'9" on the Long Island Expressway, he must either use the service roads in a couple of spots or use a short trailer.

    By the way, there are no warnings about these "low" clearances to exit and go around. I would be surprised if anyone did exit because the posted (legal) clearance is supposed to be one foot lower than the actual clearance.

    Gotta love NY. :roll:


    Are there any other cities with these kind of restrictions?

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    chapchap70 is offline Member
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    Since there are a couple of posted clearances of about 12'9" on the Long Island Expressway, he must either use the service roads in a couple of spots or use a short trailer.

    By the way, there are no warnings about these "low" clearances to exit and go around. I would be surprised if anyone did exit because the posted (legal) clearance is supposed to be one foot lower than the actual clearance.


    I was wrong about using the LIE service roads to go around a low bridge! When the designated route is used, I 295 dumps into I 495 via exit 27. There is no exit 28 on the eastbound side. There is a 12"10" posted clearance on a bridge that crosses over the Long Island Expressway a couple hundred feet west of exit 29. :?

    Someone should check if 53' trailers 13 feet high or higher are allowed on the Port Jefferson Ferry. :lol:

  12. #11
    polonus is offline Rookie
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    I worked for one of the major trucking company at JFK airport doing airfreight for 15 years. At least 10 of them pulling 53 footers. We were regularly leaving NY via 57th str bridge thru Manhattan, and north on 1st Ave to I 87 N and Cross Bronx - GWBridge. This way we were bypassing all tolls leaving NY. Also quite often it was faster way, than sticking to the expressways. Especially after 9-11, when cops were just sitting on Cross Bronx Expressway, doing nothing and blocking one lane, I was sometimes at least one hour faster in NJ than guys staying on freeways.

    Neither me or any of my friends had any problems with that, but we all heard about others ticketed for it. I believe most of this stories are just rumors. If for 10 years on average twice a week i did it, saving $30 every time, I pocket $3,000 every year.

    At night I saw many trucks doing this, especially garbage haulers, but others too. Some of them had 48 foot trlrs, but some 53.

    Coming to NYC we usually run thru Verazzano Bridge on south side, again to save some tolls. On BQE is an overpass marked 12'2. Is funny watching those, who first time run with traffic, 50 mph and suddenly hit the brakes scared that they will hit it. Actual clearance has to be at least 13'8, since I have toll rubber and I'm little over 13'6 and never had any problem. NYC marks all overpasses 1 foot lower then actual clearance, but I have no idea why this one is marked that low.
    :twisted: :wink: :lol:

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    tweety bird is offline Senior Board Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by chapchap70
    \Since there are a couple of posted clearances of about 12'9" on the Long Island Expressway, he must either use the service roads in a couple of spots or use a short trailer.

    By the way, there are no warnings about these "low" clearances to exit and go around. I would be surprised if anyone did exit because the posted (legal) clearance is supposed to be one foot lower than the actual clearance.
    None of the "low clearance" bridges on the LIE (I 495) or on the BQE (I 295) are actually low... although just in case I always get into the left merge lane going from the BQE to west bound LIE!

    I have never encountered a bridge on any of my routes on the island or in the borroughs that is truly low... which doesn't mean a danged thing! I always stop and get out if it's a bridge I haven't been under before! And the only time I use the service roads are if there is construction re-routing traffic or for route 27 westbound before it stops being a parkway.

    Happy ducking...

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    Flatspot is offline Rookie
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    Weird thing about New England states and posted clearances for overhead obstructions. They're measured from the height of the curb, not the road surface. I've taken 53 footers with 13'6" clearance requirements under overheads stating 12'10" clearance.

    You have to questimate the height of the curb (or get out and measure it) and add that to the stated clearance to get the *true" clearance.

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    rcso is offline Member
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    Would using one of those cheap laser measures; like one would use to measure square footage or distance inside houses be a good thing to bring and use to measure actual clearance?
    Vi et Consilio

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    Quote Originally Posted by chapchap70
    This would mean that the George Washington Bridge is a no no for 53 footers.
    not sure thats true, The few times I've been through NY has been right on the gw

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    Quote Originally Posted by geeshock
    not sure thats true, The few times I've been through NY has been right on the gw
    i think he's saying that it's a no no, whether it's followed or enforced is another thing all together. i myself have done it many times.
    @DABinTX

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    Hat Rak is offline Board Regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcso
    Would using one of those cheap laser measures; like one would use to measure square footage or distance inside houses be a good thing to bring and use to measure actual clearance?
    Haha, our trucks should have low clearance radars just like big boats have look-ahead depth sounders. That'd be a riot.

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    kc0iv is offline Senior Board Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hat Rak
    Quote Originally Posted by rcso
    Would using one of those cheap laser measures; like one would use to measure square footage or distance inside houses be a good thing to bring and use to measure actual clearance?
    Haha, our trucks should have low clearance radars just like big boats have look-ahead depth sounders. That'd be a riot.
    I looked in to this a few years but never carry it through. Main problem I see is setting the system. To be usable it would have to be mounted on the tractor (do to using different trailers). Ice and snow would have to be cleared off for it to work correctly.

    kc0iv

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    I live in Albany NY. Low clearance signs are always posted 1 foot less than actual clearance this is true. however, if you see a sign in NY that says "Actual Clearance 12'9" then this is the actual clearance. do not add 1 foot to these signs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flatspot
    Weird thing about New England states and posted clearances for overhead obstructions. They're measured from the height of the curb, not the road surface. I've taken 53 footers with 13'6" clearance requirements under overheads stating 12'10" clearance.
    If you mean NY, than yes, but i wouldn't recomend it in NJ, or other surounding states! :shock: :P
    Pessimist,- is just well informed optimist!

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