YORKTOWN, N.Y. Emergency crews say they're prepared for major traffic delays and potentially crippling gridlock after the eight-month long rehabilitation of the AMVETS Memorial Bridge began Sunday evening.
While the New York State Department of Transportation is hoping that half of the 7,500 cars that travel the Taconic at peak times will use alternate routes, crews are working with each other to ensure aid can get to the roadway in ample time, should an emergency arise. Yorktown Police Chief Daniel McMahon said he believes they have worked out plans to anticipate any potential problems, and said they are prepared to handle any curves that come.
In anticipation of that, the fire department and ambulance corps have made arrangements with neighboring ambulance and fire departments to also respond on calls, he said.
McMahon said they were most concerned about the area south of the reservoir and the time it might take to get there if major traffic occurs.
Theres only a couple of bridges to get across and if the traffic on the Taconic is backed up that means your fire trucks, ambulances and police cars cant get through, he said. The fire department and the ambulance corps has made arrangements for the Ossining ambulance corps and the Millwood Fire Department to assist them.
McMahon said the Yorktown Police Department will have sector car stations south of the reservoir for the morning rush hour, saying he was very concerned about the response time south of the reservoir.
Our emergency services are located in the heights area and we have to follow traffic to get down to the lower reservoir. So we are going to prepare south of the reservoir during the peak hours in the morning.
He also said police will be stationed at the Traffic Command Center in Hawthorne to help mitigate traffic, "There have been several temporary and permanent traffic lights at the alternate routes motorists may use during the construction and those will be monitored to make sure the traffic lights and other things are aligned with the flow of traffic."
For those who plan to take the Taconic when all four lanes are set up in the southbound direction, after April 1, McMahon warned that there will be an uncomfortable feeling of being very close to other cars and the center barriers.
State DOT officials say monitors have been installed on alternate routes, highways and the Taconic to enable local officials to monitor traffic in real time. They are hopeful the monitors will best enable them to keep the public informed of current conditions and respond to an emergency should one arise.
In addition, to help with emergencies, the Department of Transportation explained that a number of different monitors have been installed on alternate routes, highways and the Taconic to let officials know of traffic, accidents and to keep the public informed of current conditions. There will be 10 emergency pull offs for disabled cars or police needs, an on-site tow truck during peak commuter hours and three median barrier gates for emergency vehicles to get through.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.