New York State to spend $25 million to warn drivers not to strike parkway bridge structures

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New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo says the 2019-20 executive budget includes $25 million to mitigate bridge strikes on parkways across New York State by deploying new state-of-the-art technologies and automated devices — including dual infrared beams, audible bells, and warning signs with flashing beacons — to warn drivers of immediate danger.

There have been 576 bridge strikes on New York State highways since 2015, causing injuries, traffic delays and damage to bridges and highway infrastructure

“Bridge strikes are not only a public safety concern but also cause significant delays on high-traffic parkways across New York,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The state has taken aggressive action in recent years to reduce the frequency of these crashes including installing new over-height detectors and warning signs on parkways, but more needs to be done. This proposed funding will bolster our efforts to curb bridge strikes and enhance safety and reliability of critical highways across the state.”

The  25 million funding will create enhancements to warn drivers of immediate danger near low bridges. In addition to sending warnings directly to commercial vehicle operators, the systems push notifications to law enforcement personnel. The initiative also calls for significantly increasing penalties for commercial vehicle operators who disobey over-height vehicle warning devices.

New York State parkways traditionally have bridges that are lower than the standard legal bridge clearance. Commercial vehicles, school buses, tractor trailers and other tall vehicles are prohibited from driving on parkways.

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