New safety system on Onondaga Lake Parkway
Efforts to avoid continuing crashes at the Onondaga Lake Parkway bridge are being stepped up. YNN's Bill Carey spoke to local leaders to see if they were on board.
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LIVERPOOL, N.Y. -- September 2010. Onondaga County officials demand the State Department of Transportation take steps to improve safety along the Onondaga Lake Parkway.
Just days before, the driver of a Megabus had ignored numerous signs of what lie ahead and had turned onto the Parkway. The bridge is 10-feet-9-inches high. The bus 14 feet. Four people were killed in the resulting crash.
After warnings from the District Attorney's office that criminal negligence might be involved, the state stepped up its program to head off similar crashes.
"They've been fairly comprehensive in their approach. It's not one solution. It's six different aspects of improving the safety and there'll be road improvements coming down the pipeline," Deputy Onondaga County Executive Matthew Millea said.
But not all of the early efforts have worked so well.
The state has tried some preliminary steps to improve safety on the Parkway. At one point, it painted a warning on the road about the low bridge ahead. Shortly after the painting was done, another tractor trailer hit the bridge.
Now, the state says it's in the process of installing a new laser system to detect the height of vehicles and set off visual alarms. The drawbacks are possible false alarms caused by things like heavy snow. But county leaders still applaud the effort.
"And even if it does, even if a blizzard sets it off, no harm done. It's not like the complaints they had before , out there, where they had a sensor that set off an alarm and every time the alarm went off, it disturbed everybody in the neighborhood," Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh said.
Still in the works is a state plan to ban all commercial vehicles from the roadway.
There are still calls for consideration of lowering the road or raising the bridge. But the costs may make those solutions unlikely.
The state hopes to have the new laser, height-detection system in operation this fall.