A garbage truck slammed into the North Main Street railroad overpass in East Hampton Village on Tuesday morning, shutting down train service east of Bridgehampton. Work to repair the bridge was still underway at press time on Wednesday, as Memorial Day weekend and increased demand for train service fast approached.
Village Police Chief Gerard Larsen said the truck which was owned by National Waste Services, which has a base in Bay Shore, hit the bridge with such force that the tracks above the overpass actually moved. The accident occurred as the truck was headed south on North Main Street into the village around 9:10 a.m., backing up traffic.
The clearance under the bridge is 10 feet and it has been hit many times over the years. Blinking signs had been installed near it in recent months to warn drivers of the low clearance. Although the L.I.R.R. is always called to assess the damage, Chief Larsen said the tracks were not always affected. “He hit it really hard,” he said.
The driver was not injured. His name was not immediately released, but the chief said it was only his second day on the job. He was given two tickets — charging failure to obey a traffic command and having an uninspected vehicle.
Long Island Rail Road inspectors were called to assess the damage, and service was immediately stopped. Eventually, workers and a crane were brought in to work on the overpass. “Obviously, our goal is to get it done before Friday,” said Salvatore Arena, a spokesman for the L.I.R.R.
Meanwhile, buses carried passengers beyond Bridgehampton most of Tuesday. “Buses are replacing trains in both directions between Bridgehampton and Montauk,” Mr. Arena said. He advised riders to check the schedule and the L.I.R.R. website.