Trucks make it a dickens of a day in Skaneateles

At 12:45 p.m. Friday, air horns could be heard in downtown Skaneateles heralding the coming convoy. Minutes later, hundreds of trucks and tractor trailers chugged into Skaneateles over Routes 5 & 20, the village's main drag.

The convoy had been planned for more than a month and rolled into town on Black Friday to protest proposed state Department of Transportation regulations that could potentially limit where large trucks travel throughout the Finger Lakes Region.

Marcie Wells of Montezuma and several members of her family were standing on the edge of West Genesee Street in the village of Skaneateles early Friday awaiting the convoy. Wells' husband, a diesel mechanic, was riding shotgun in one of the trucks.

"It's terrible," said Cliff Copp, one of Wells' relatives. Copp said that without trucks traveling the roads, deliveries simply can't be made.

"It all goes by truck," he said, adding that whether goods come in by boat or train, to get the items to the towns off those paths, trucks are needed to carry them.

While residents and visitors gathered on the sides of Route 20, local officials were awaiting the arrival of more than 200 trucks. At the Skaneateles Fire Department, the police department set up a command post where Skaneateles police, New York State Police and Skaneateles Fire personnel were on standby.

For the fire department, more than 30 volunteers were on standby "just in case there's a call," said firefighter Bill Murphy. Fearful there would be an emergency call, the firefighters gathered in the morning at the station to be on hand should the tones come over their scanners.

According to Kathy Murphy, much of the concern for safety was directed toward the pedestrians because of the amount of traffic coming through the village.

State Trooper Jack Keller agreed that the biggest concern was for public safety, particularly with it being one the biggest shopping day of the year. With the Dickens Christmas festival officially opening Friday, and the convoy, there were a number of people gathering at the intersections trying to cross the streets.

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