Tractor-trailers have been prohibited on the Wilbur Cross and Merritt parkways since it opened in 1940. So when trucks get stuck, delivery driver John Braga said it doesn’t make sense.
“You hear it all the time and see it and I don’t understand it,” said Braga.
It happens in cities and towns too. Crashes have been reported at James Street in New Haven, and two different overpasses in Milford.
Free GPS maps don’t warn drivers of height and weight restrictions, so the avoidable backups can put the brakes on everyone’s day.
“With any technology I think you just have to use common sense,” said Braga. “You know what your truck height is, you’re supposed to know your legal limits.”
Monday Sen. Richard Blumenthal asked for help. He wants map developers like Google, Waze and Apple Maps to include restrictions in their apps for truck drivers.
“They are directed to this road by GPS or one of the other maps that fails to tell them the Merritt becomes a road to nowhere for trucks,” said Blumenthal.
The senator said it becomes a nightmare for everyone when a truck has back down the parkway or worse, when it hits an overpass.
“It can get really frustrating, definitely,” said Noah Gates, a passenger car driver on the Wilbur Cross Parkway. “If I had hair I’d pull it out.”
“The signs have been improved, they’ve been made more prominent and clear, but the real problem is truck drivers say oh well I’m going to take my chances because I-95 is a parking lot,” said Blumenthal.
Braga delivers to Dunkin’ stores at rest stops on the Wilbur Cross Parkway. He has a commercial pass from the state to drive on the road, and he said he uses a commercial trucking map system to plan his trips.
“I don’t know if other drivers just don’t use it or what,” said Braga.
It’s not free, so he said upgrades to the other apps couldn’t hurt.
Wes Haynes of the Merritt Parkway Conservancy said he hopes the senator’s call pushes the app developers to make the change.
“We have written to providers in the past and gotten responses that it’s just not their problem, it’s our problem.”
His concern comes ahead of proposed tolls on Connecticut highways that could make dodging the tolls tempting for some drivers.
“The parkway has been a place to avoid it for traffic and tolls would just give them another reason to avoid it,” said Haynes.