The New York State Department of Transportation says that a barrier on the Bear Mountain Parkways is unlikely to happen any time soon, if ever.
Following the death of Lake Peekskill’s who was killed in a on that road, the passed a resolution at the Dec. 13 Town Board meeting to ask the state to install a barrier.
“We need a barrier going through the center of the road for safety reasons,” Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi said at that meeting.
The Town passed the same resolution in 2008, and at that time, the DOT had a $60 million capital project on the state’s program to reconstruct the parkway from Routes 6/9/202 to Routes 35/202, which would have included the installation of a median barrier. That project would have started in 2012, but the recession has caused the DOT to push back the project indefinitely.
“Due to the economic downturn, the project does not fit into our current capital program focus,” the DOT’s spokeswoman Sue Stepp said.
The state lacks the manpower, equipment and funding to install a barrier along the entire length of the Bear Mountain Parkway, Stepp said.
“The installation of concrete median barrier would either 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,” said Stepp, who explained that a concrete barrier costs about $100 per foot. She also said that the installation of a "somewhat narrower box beam median would be problematic because trucks are allowed to use the parkway at night and need wide travel lanes and stronger barrier."
But the DOT does have plans to install a barrier on a small section of the parkway near the Route 6 interchange in 2017. This project will also include widening of the parkway at that area.
The Bear Mountain Parkway used to be on the state’s list of “Priority Investigation Locations” (PILS), locations monitored by the DOT based on the number and severity of accidents there. The Bear Mountain Parkway has not been on that list for at least the last four years, which means there have not been enough severe accidents there to warrant on-going regional investigation of the area, Stepp said.
If the state police investigation reveals that LaMarr Barnes’ accident on Dec. 9 was caused by the road’s geometrics, there is a higher likelihood that the Bear Mountain parkway could be placed on that list again. The state police said they will not release those details for another week or two.
Puglisi said that there have been many accidents on the Bear Mountain Parkway over the years. Check back with Patch for more on accident statistics and the results of the police investigation when they become available.