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NEWS

For Immediate Release
May 7, 2014

Newburgh-Beacon Bridge Work Zones Expanding
Increased Speed Enforcement Will Help Keep Workers Safe

Effective immediately, the speed limit on both spans of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge will be 45 MPH.  Construction speed limit zones will be extended for the entire length of each bridge and NYS Troopers from both sides of the river will be there to assist motorists in obeying the law.

“It’s going to be a very busy year on the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge,” Executive Director Joseph Ruggiero said.  “With over 100 workers on the site at any given time, we must do everything we can to keep workers safe and to make sure this much needed project gets done efficiently and as quickly as possible.”

Governor Cuomo recently announced the results of a state-wide crack-down on aggressive and distracted drivers, noting that more than 24,000 tickets were issued.  “Keeping our roadways safe is a priority for this Governor, the Bridge Authority and all our law enforcement partners.  We’re making the public aware of the importance of this effort, but also letting those who choose to ignore the law that there will be consequences.”

Major Patrick Regan, Troop F  Commander, said “Troopers will be stepping up enforcement on speeding motorists and aggressive drivers in and around construction zones as part of our continuing effort to keep all of us safe on our roadways.”

Troop K Lieutenant Eugene J. Hallenbeck, Jr, said “It is one of the missions of the New York State Police to ensure highway safety.  This initiative is not only for the safety of the highway workers, but for the motoring public.”

 “The difference between driving 45 miles per hour and 60 miles per hour over the bridge is all of about 15 seconds – and you have to stop for the toll eastbound in any event.  People should consider whether it’s worth it to get to a toll booth 15 seconds faster and take the chance for higher car insurance, a big fine and points on the license,” Ruggiero added. 

Speeding in a construction zone carries heavier fines and more points on a driver’s license.  A conviction for speeding even as little as 10 miles an hour in a construction zone could cost hundreds of dollars and eventually result in the loss of a driver’s license.

The $19 million lead abatement and re-painting project on the north span, westbound, is in its final year.  The containment system will be completed soon and is designed to make sure no contaminants enter the river.   Speed restrictions are necessary so that excessive wind shear doesn’t rip open the containment system as well as insure that workers near the roadway are not put in jeopardy.

The Newburgh-Beacon Bridge south span, eastbound, is the site of a $93 million re-decking project that will result in a structure designed to last more than fifty years.  The bridge was completed in 1980 and still has the original 34 year old deck.  The new design will both extend the life of the structure as well as provide a much smoother, and safer, road surface.

Daily updates on lane closures and bridge conditions are provided via Twitter and Facebook.  Anyone can get these feeds for Twitter at @NYSBridge (https://twitter.com/#!/NYSBridge) and on Facebook at (www.facebook.com), searching for the “New York State Bridge Authority.”
The re-decking project began last fall and will continue throughout this year and into next year.

Keeping a bridge open during construction has its own challenges.  Keeping with Governor Cuomo’s Drivers First Initiative, the most extensive work will be done overnight to minimize delays and congestion.

But drivers should expect that rough roads and an uneven driving surface will be common throughout the project.  Reducing speed will lessen the impact on both the bridge and on the cars of motorists.

Traffic patterns will also constantly change on the south span.  During rush hours (6am-9am weekday mornings) the bridge will usually maintain three lanes to help ease congestion.  While three lanes are open, the roadway will be rough and motorists should expect a bumpy ride until the work is done.

During the day, two lanes will be open.  The Authority expects to go to one lane eastbound only overnight, however some delays may be expected during early evening hours. 

“We ask motorists to bear with us while we make these improvements,” Ruggiero said.  “These projects will result in smoother driving and are part of our long-term program to keep all of our bridges well maintained and in good condition.”

These really are “Your Tolls at Work”.  The Bridge Authority does not receive state or federal funds for road work and this type of long-term improvement will return many years of safe and smooth highway.

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