Thursday, December 27, 2012

Construction Begins on Bronx River Deathtrap

By David Greene

BRONX, NEW YORK, December 26- Engineers and construction crews with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) have begun the permanent repairs along a deadly stretch of the Bronx River Parkway--that has so far killed 12 since 2005.

Workers were first spotted along the parkway, between the Bronx Zoo and E. 177 Street exits on December 14, where they will replace an outer barrier that will prevent vehicles from driving off the elevated sections of the roadway.

According to Adam Levin, a spokesman with the NYSDOT, workers are busy installing, "A more permanent barrier on the outside area of three bridges."

Levin added that work crews are, "taking the shorter barrier out," and installing a taller, medium barrier in order to, "restore the roadway to what it was."

Levin could not say how tall the original barrier was or how tall the new barrier would be. Levin also vowed to respond the following day with the cost of the project, but failed to do so.

On July 9, 2006, six people were killed and eight were injured when a car jumped the two-foot high center median at E. 177 Street and crashed head-on into oncoming traffic.

Killed in the crash were Derrick Gardner, 40, Asia, 6, Jamel, 16, Keywann, 23, and relative Brandon Daye, 18. The crash also killed family friend Jeremy Blackwell, 23.

Nearly three miles away on May 15, 2010, off-duty police officers Edwin Paulino, 25, and Hoyoung Kim, 32, were killed when the vehicle they were traveling in drove off the highway just before the E. 233 Street exit.

On June 4, 2011, Michael Robles, the Bronx Democratic male district leader and a passenger drove of the E. 180 Street overpass and plunged 30-feet into the parking lot of a transit police headquarters. Miraculously both survived with minor injuries.

In the latest fatal crash, seven members of one family were killed when their SUV jumped the outer divider of the southbound lane and plunged sixty-feet into an unused portion of the Bronx Zoo, this past April 29.
Killed in that crash was Ana Julia, 80, Jacob Nunez, 84, Maria Gonzalez, 45, Maria Rosario, 39, Jazlyn Gonzalez, 9, Naily Rosario, 7, and Marlyn Rosario, 3.

On December 18, two vehicles plunged into the Bronx River in Yonkers. Westchester police say the two vehicles collided in the northbound lane of the Bronx River Parkway, near exit 8 and both vehicles ended up in the river.

Both drivers survived and the cause of that crash is still under investigation.

After the April 29 crash, Monte Dean, also a spokesman with the NYSDOT stated, "The length of the barrier is about 3,000 feet in each direction. I don't have a cost yet either. No idea."

Dexter Gardner an outspoken family member who has long urged the repairs, stated on December 24, "Somebody called me and let me know, I'll have to check it out. I heard about it a couple days ago... It's great, I'm just happy that their doing it so another family won't have to go through this again." 

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