A six-mile section of the Southern Tier Expressway is scheduled to be shut down for several hours for the removal of a 100-ton piece of machinery stuck on a broken trailer.
The state Department of Transportation has advised drivers that Route 17 westbound will be closed from Exit 67 in Vestal to Exit 66 in Apalachin from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday.
Motorists will be detoured from the expressway onto the Vestal Parkway (Route 434) while crews work to transfer a massive load from one trailer to another.
A fire broke out at the rear of the trailer that was hauling the "superload" around 5 p.m. February 24.
Apalachin fire chief Mike George said wooden blocks apparently were installed to help stabilize the trailer that was carrying too much weight. One of the blocks started dragging on the highway and the friction caused it to ignite.
George said the giant load - which is said to weigh about 200,000 pounds - shifted on the trailer. The damaged trailer was dragged to the exit ramp, where it has been sitting since the incident.
State police say the machinery was being transported by TTT Transport of Dayton, Ohio. The company did not return a call seeking comment.
The machinery was being hauled from Kirkwood to Illinois.
A state police spokeswoman said the load "was not properly permitted." The agency's commercial vehicle enforcement unit investigated the incident but no information was released regarding possible vehicle and traffic infractions.
Rogers Industrial Specialists of Binghamton on Wednesday staged equipment for the removal project at a boat launch just west of the highway interchange in Apalachin.
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