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$60M Median Project for Bear Mtn Pkwy Cancelled

CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. – A $60 million plan to install median barriers on the Bear Mountain State Parkway was postponed after the “national economic downturn,” according to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). The parkway was set to receive a median barrier in 2012 but the project has been abbreviated and postponed until 2017, said a NYSDOT news release.

In February 2008, the Cortlandt Town Board forwarded a resolution to the NYSDOT, which owns the Bear Mountain State Parkway, requesting median barriers on the road. “Since that time, due to the nationwide economic downturn, the project has been pushed back because it does not fit into our current capital program focus,” said NYSDOT.

A deadly head-on collision in early December sparked criticism of the high-speed winding parkway, many residents asked why a median barrier hadn’t been installed on the parkway years ago.

The head-on collision took place at Locust Avenue, where state police believe an SUV stopped short to make a left turn and the driver of a Nissan Altima behind the SUV swerved into oncoming traffic to avoid a collision. The driver who swerved into oncoming traffic survived but the passenger of a second oncoming Nissan Altima was killed in the crash.

The NYSDOT said a deadly crash had not occurred on the parkway at Locust Avenue for some time, taking it off of the “Priority Investigation Locations” list. The $60 million capital project would have reconstructed the Bear Mountain State Parkway from the Route 9, Route 6, Route 202 juncture to the end of the extension, at Route 35 and Route 202. The project “would have included the installation of median barrier,” wrote Sue Stepp of NYSDOT in the release.

“Although we do repair existing barrier, DOT does not have the equipment or manpower to install barrier of this magnitude,” wrote Stepp. A reconstruction project for the interchange at Route 6 on the parkway is not slated for 2017 and “will include the installation of some concrete median barrier on a short segment” of the parkway.

Placing a barrier on the length of the parkway would also necessitate “widening the entire parkway to accommodate the width of the barrier, or leaving the road as is, but reducing it to one lane in each direction,” Stepp said.

Even a narrower barrier could be problematic, as trucks use the parkway at night, and would need stronger barriers, according to Stepp. If a barrier were placed on the parkway, NYSDOT would likely use concrete barriers.  A typical section of barrier costs $100 per foot, and a typical section if 15 to 20 feet long.

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