Nearly two million dollars will be pledged to help prevent tractor-tractor-trailers striking a Westchester County bridge.
Since 2015, there have been 576 bridge strikes on New York State highways, causing injuries, traffic delays and damage to overpasses, which often require repairs. In response, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that his Executive Budget includes $25 million to reduce the number of strikes statewide.
Of that allotment, $1.8 million will be dedicated to bridge strike prevention for the King Street Bridge in Harrison. The project includes new variable message signs, fixed signs, bridge lighting and communications upgrades with the Hudson Valley Traffic Management Center and Westchester County Police Department.
The $1.8 million project to prevent over-height vehicles from striking the King Street Bridge over the Hutchinson River Parkway will take place in Harrison and Rye, Westchester County. The bridge - which already features warning devices on it - has been struck 130 times between 2008 to 2018, more than any other bridge in the state.
Improvements include the installation of two over-height vehicle detectors in advance of the bridge at Exits 26 and 29 of the parkway. It will also upgrade the existing detection system at the King Street exit ramp.
According to Cuomo, the detection system includes receiver sensors mounted on either side of the Hutchinson River Parkway with an infrared transmitter in advance of the King Street Bridge, creating an infrared beam over the road. When an over-height vehicle breaks the beam, the receiver sends a signal and activates a warning message alert on a sign, notifying the driver to exit the Parkway immediately.
"Bridge strikes are a danger to motorists and passengers, and exacerbate serious traffic problems that the residents of Westchester County experience every day," Cuomo said. "The state will continue to take aggressive action to reduce the frequency of these crashes and improve the safety and reliability of our roadways.”
While sending warnings directly to commercial vehicle operators, the new tech would also push notifications to law enforcement agencies in the area. There will also be a “significant” increase in penalties for drivers who disobey the height warning devices, which are currently being tested in the Hudson Valley.
“For far too long commuters and residents nearby have had to suffer through shredded trucks on the Parkway, and traffic backed up for miles,” Westchester County Executive George Latimer stated. “It is a miracle that no one has been killed in these devastating accidents. This money will go a long way towards making sure that only those vehicles that should be on the parkway are. Accidents will always happen, but this technology that will now be implemented will greatly reduce the likelihood."
Sen. Shelley Mayer added, "I am pleased that the State Department of Transportation is investing $1.8 million in innovative bridge strike prevention technology to prevent over-height vehicles from striking the King Street Bridge over the Hutchinson River Parkway in Harrison. With 130 bridge strikes over the last 10 years, bridge strikes are a significant public safety issue. I am committed to working with my colleagues and the Governor's office to continue investing in our roads and bridges and addressing the unique challenges our communities face."
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