ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — As we approach the summer months, we can expect more travel on the roads. The state legislature is pushing for a bill to increase safer travels by enforcing a bridge collision study through DOT. According to the Department, there are nearly 200 bridge hits in New York, every year. The reasons for those collisions vary between improperly stored equipment on trucks, violation of vehicles posting signs, and more.
“We may have more low bridges in New York State than any other state in the country,” said key sponsor of the bill, Senator John Mannion. He said with bridge collision numbers climbing, a study should be done to determine best options moving forward, “What are the options here to help solve this problem or lower the number of strikes? It could involve significant investment to actually change the road or change the bridges or additional warnings that are out there.”
Mannion said in his discussions with DOT, distractibility and higher reliance on GPS systems could also be cause for the bridge strikes. “The responsibility here really is on the individual and mostly the state and other municipalities have taken action to make sure that it’s clear that there is a low bridge,” he said. The state is doing what it can and pushing for more.
Assembly member Angelo Santabarbara is all too familiar with bridge collisions happening in his district or surrounding areas near Schenectady. He said, not only is it dangerous, it costs taxpayers money. “When these collisions happen we have to devote resources, whether that’s the police department or fire department not to mention sometimes there’s car accidents in addition there’s motorists that are waiting for hours and hours for that bridge collision to be cleared and these are events that disrupt the local community.”
He said thorough documentation of these incidents will give officials and New Yorkers a better understanding of why it’s happening and how to prevent it. “DOT is gonna report relevant information, they’re gonna report what efforts are on their way and what plans they have to improve bridge safety at these locations and hopefully avoid collisions in the future,” he explained. The bill has passed in the Assembly and is waiting on approval from the Senate. Advocates are hopeful that it will pass before session ends next week.