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Cuomo: Overpass warning systems for Northern, Southern parkways

Any vehicle that is too high will break an invisible beam, installed where entrance ramp starts, triggering a warning on sign, DOT says.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the installation of

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the installation of new technology that will help stop over-height vehicles from entering Long Island parkways in order to prevent dangerous bridge strikes on low parkway overpasses. Photo Credit: Office of the Governor

An electronic system that warns truck drivers if their vehicles are too high to fit under a Long Island parkway overpass is being expanded, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Tuesday.

The $4.3 million project, which aims to keep drivers of large commercial buses and trucks from illegally entering scenic, 1920s roadways, are being installed in Nassau and Suffolk where bridge strikes have occurred, he said in a statement.

Any bus or truck that is too high will break an invisible beam, installed where the entrance ramp starts, triggering a warning on “a full color LED variable messaging sign,” he said.

This will enable the drivers of school buses and commercial vehicles to take the next exit, said a spokesman for the state Transportation Department.

Errant drivers can pull over until state police arrive and block traffic, allowing them to reverse off the roadway, he said.

The state DOT is alerted along with state police and cameras allow state operators to monitor the detectors, Cuomo said.

“Every bridge strike is not only a danger to the motorists and passengers involved, but also exacerbates the very serious traffic problems that Long Islanders experience every day,” Cuomo said.

In November, an overpass on the Northern State Parkway was struck by a truck; a Southern State Parkway overpass was hit in September.

In 2014, over-height detection systems were installed for the Northern at three locations in Oyster Bay Town, Cuomo said.

Such systems have prevented thousands of “over-height” buses, box trucks, tractor trucks and other vehicles from being driven into overpasses around the state, he said.

“We are moving this region’s parkways into the 21st century with state-of-the-art technology designed to prevent these bridge strikes and improve the safety and reliability of these vital roadways,” Cuomo said.

Through November, the warning system was placed at these sites:

•Southbound Eagle Avenue to eastbound Southern in the Town of Hempstead.

•Sunrise Highway north service road to westbound Heckscher/Southern in the Town of Islip.

•Southbound State Route 106/107 to eastbound Northern in the Town of Oyster Bay, Nassau County.

•Northbound State Route 106/107 to eastbound Northern in the Town of Oyster Bay.

•Southbound State Route 106/107 to westbound Northern in the Town of Oyster Bay.

On Long Island, the new system should be installed by spring at these locations:

•Eastbound Long Island Expressway ramp to eastbound Northern in the Town of Oyster Bay, Nassau County.

•Westbound LIE ramp to westbound Northern in the Town of Oyster Bay.

•Northbound Peninsula Boulevard to eastbound Southern in the Town of Hempstead.

•Southbound Peninsula Boulevard to westbound Southern in the Town of Hempstead.

•Southbound Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway to westbound Southern in the Town of Hempstead.

•Southbound Route 111 to westbound Southern in the Town of Islip.

•Northbound Route 111 to westbound Southern in the Town of Islip.

•Spur Drive North ramp to westbound Southern in the Town of Islip.

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