ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – If you’ve ever driven along the Adirondack Northway, you may have noticed phone boxes stationed along parts of your route. Those call boxes once served an important service to the I-87, especially for drivers headed through more remote areas of the Adirondack Park. This week, the process of decommissioning them has begun.

On Friday, New York State Police announced that the Northway Call Box System is being decommissioned. The removal process has begun, box by box, and is expected to be complete by fall 2023, with dozens of phones to be removed across a long route.

First installed in 1986, an emergency call box was placed every two miles along the highway, starting in the northern areas of Warren County and reaching up into Clinton County, covering a total distance of over 100 miles. The boxes were intended for use by motorists who needed to contact state police, either to report an emergency or call for aid due to a vehicle malfunction on the road. After years of issues with aging parts, some boxes had to have parts removed in order to fix others, with 47 boxes still functioning.

With the prominence of cell phone use, even in areas of the Adirondacks with unstable reception, State Police have made the decision to remove the system entirely. It currently averages fewer than 30 calls per year, leaving the installation of an entirely new system unjustifiable. The boxes replaced an original set that was installed when the Northway first came into being in the 1960s.