GLENVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The notorious Glenridge bridge is getting another safety upgrade that will help warn drivers they’re about to strike the bridge. NEWS10 has more on what New York Department of Transportation (NYDOT) is calling a first of its kind for Capital Region roads.
The Glenridge Road bridge has been struck time and time again and now there is a new detection system in place on both sides of the to help warn drivers of an imminent strike.
The new warning system is made up of three sets of infrared detectors. There are two on the westbound side and one set is on the eastbound side. Flash floodlights are to shine on the bridge and electronic message boards that will light up to warn drivers of the bridge ahead.
Bryan Viggiani, spokesperson with NYDOT, explains how the new system is designed to work. “What’s going to happen is there’s a pair of infrared sensors, they shoot an invisible beam across the road. It works very much like a garage door opener. Where if you go under that while the door is closing, the door stops. So, if your vehicle is taller than that height, the infrared sensors will sense that, and you’ll trip the continuity of that beam. What’s going to happen is there’s beacons that are flashing on top and below of these signs that are there. The electronic message boards will flash a warning that your vehicle is too tall for that bridge to fit under. And if it’s the closer one, what’s going to happen is, is flood lights will shine on the bridge. So, it’s unmistakable there’s a low bridge right there,” said Viggiani.
Glenville Town Supervisor, Chris Koetlze, says it will also improve safety for responding emergency crews. “Every time there was a bridge strike, we send our folks out. Our police department, our first responders, our highway personnel, and it’s dangerous in there. So, we’re hoping this will help mitigate our response. And then help cut down and make it safer for our folks,” said Koetzle.
Instructors at The CDL School in Menands say this new system is a smart way to alert drivers in the digital age. But training manager Philip O’Brien thinks that adding something a little more old school would help to top off the system.
“Maybe like a railroad arm going down to actually stop the trucks. Just in case people are not looking up, at least they’re looking forward and they’re going to see a bright fluorescent orange arm,” said O’Brien.
Last year, turnarounds and flashing beacon warning lights were installed to help prevent bridge strikes from occurring. Yet, the bridge kept getting hit. Koetzle says he has heard stories that the new system is working. “We do have some anecdotal evidence. A resident witnessed that it worked once already. So that’s really good news and we’re optimistic that it’s going to help cut down tremendously on these future strikes,” said Koetzle.
The Glenville police confirmed the bridge has been struck nine times, this year.