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Thousand Islands Bridge makes 15 daily escorts of Canadian haulers of trash, scrap metal

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COLLINS LANDING — About 15 truckloads of Canadian trash and scrap metal now cross the Thousand Islands Bridge daily, holding up traffic while the massive 18-wheelers are escorted across by bridge authority employees.

But none of those loads is dumped in the north country.

Chicago-based Mr. Bult’s Inc., the nation’s largest trash hauler, transports refuse across the bridge several times per day. After crossing the bridge, the MBI trucks bypass the north country and make a two-hour drive south, dumping their loads at Seneca Meadows Landfill, Seneca Falls. Last year, MBI bought and took over operations of Santaro Trucking Co., Syracuse, which previously hauled trash from Canada over the bridge for about five years.

Kingston-based Kimco Steel and Mulrooney Trucking haul scrap metal into the state daily over the Thousand Islands Bridge, but it’s mainly taken to the greater Syracuse area.

The Development Authority of the North Country, which operates a regional landfill in Rodman, has never collected trash from Canada because it is prohibited by the state, said Richard R. LeClerc, solid waste management division manager. The landfill now collects trash from public and private haulers in Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence and Hamilton counties.

“We have never accepted any — and are not permitted to — based on our state Department of Environmental Conservation permit,” he said.

The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority is obliged to stop traffic when heavy truckloads from the three companies cross the bridge, said Robert G. Horr III, executive director. Trucks that weigh more than 90,000 pounds are escorted by authority employees. Truckers contact the authority 24 hours in advance of arrival to receive a permit to be escorted. Upon arrival, the trucks are weighed and inspected. Trucks that weigh more than 130,000 pounds aren’t allowed to cross.

Escorted trucks “come from the Ottawa and Kingston area,” Mr. Horr said, but the authority does not track the trucks’ destinations. Among the three trucking companies that make daily trips over the bridge, he said, about 15 trucks are escorted across the bridge every day.

The two other international bridges in the region — in Ogdensburg and Massena — also escort trucks carrying trash and scrap metal, but they don’t do so on a routine basis like the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority. The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority requires escort permits for trucks that weigh more than 90,000 pounds, or are over 13 feet wide, to cross the Ogdensburg-Prescott Bridge into New York, Deputy Executive Director Frederick S. Morrill said. It charges $100 for those trucks to be issued escort permits. Truckloads that weigh more than 105,000 pounds, however, have to be evaluated by consultants to ensure the bridge can handle the weight, Mr. Morrill said. Those truckers are charged $1,000 to be escorted.

The Seaway International Bridge linking Cornwall, Ontario, to Massena does not have any companies that require frequent escorts, said Wade N. Dorland, the operations manager of the Seaway International Bridge Corp. Truckloads weighing more than 115,000 pounds must be escorted across the bridge, he said, and those over 135,000 pounds can’t cross without the completion of a successful engineering analysis.

“Escorts are usually a one-off issue, and the majority are due to the size of the load — being either too wide or long,” Mr. Dorland said in an email.

Special hauling permits required for large trucks in New York state are based on criteria set by the state Department of Transportation, spokesman Michael R. Flick said. Trucks with a width of 12 or more feet, or a height of 14 or more feet, are required to be issued travel permits. Special permits are issued based on the weight of trucks, number of axles and an evaluation of travel routes.

“Trucks are looked at individually for each permit,” Mr. Flick said. “We run the travel routes through our system to make sure the truck can cross” under and over bridges.

Trucks that qualify as “superloads” under state law require escorts to cross state bridges, Mr. Flick said. To qualify, those trucks either weigh more than 200,000 pounds or are at least 165 feet long.

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