Updated 09/13/2010 06:56 PM
Parkway Bus Tragedy: What can be done about the bridge?
Saturday's accident at the railroad bridge has many people talking again about its safety. For years, many people have said something needs to be done about the bridge on that stretch of roadway. In the mid 90s, one idea was proposed but nothing came of it. The former Onondaga County Legislature Chairman was the man behind that movement. Our Iris St. Meran has more on what he thinks should be done.
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LIVERPOOL, N.Y. -- The safety of the bridge over Onondaga Lake Parkway has been the topic of discussion well before this megabus crashed into it Saturday morning, killing four people. On Saturday, some people's biggest fears about the nearly 100-year-old bridge came true.
"To see the damage on that bus and what happened. My thoughts were I wonder if this could have been prevented," said former Oneida County Legislative Chairman William Sanford.
Sanford served as Onondaga County Legislative Chairman for 22 years. In the mid-1990s he feared something like this could happened and proposed putting chains on the bridge.
Sanford said, "All they'd have to do is hang some chains from the bar there and let them just hang freely and when a truck or bus or something would go by there, they would be hit and it would be something that would get their attention really quickly."
During that time, the state tabled the idea. Sanford said representatives believed chains could be a liability. Instead, other cautionary measures were taken.
Along the parkway, there are flashing lights and signs, some as close as a few feet away from the actual bridge warning driver's there's a low bridge straight ahead.
Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh said, "I don't know exactly what they could do that would ever prevent all vehicles that are oversized. If signage doesn't do it, if flashing lights doesn't do it."
Walsh mentioned some ideas that have been thrown out there, but are difficult to actually do.
- Lowering the road, but that could cause flooding
- Using a beam or sensor, but bad weather like snow storms could set it off
- Raising the bridge, but the railroad owns it and Walsh said that would be very disruptive
Only time will tell what changes if any can be made.
Representatives from the Department of Transportation's Albany office were on the parkway inspecting the bridge Monday.
In a statement, DOT public information officer Gene Cilento said,
"This like all traffic accidents is a terrible tragedy. Our hearts go out to the families of those who died in this crash. There is an extensive warning system including numerous devices to warn drivers of the low bridge in place and around at this bridge. We have checked them and they're in good working order. We are awaiting results of the police investigation. Once that is finalized and received we will evaluate possible future steps."