What About Safety on THIS Bridge?

While the state builds a new, safer bridge that appreciates the Hudson Valley view, and preserves the river and the fish, and protects boaters, and detours motorists, another tragedy happened. My thoughts and prayers go out Karl Peterson’s friends and family, and those he leaves behind. I empathize, having lost a friend to suicide years ago.

Aerial view of the Tappan Zee Bridge and southern Hudson Valley region/ Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Aerial view of the Tappan Zee Bridge and southern Hudson Valley region/ Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The new bridge will have safety measures, just no subsurface sensors or monitors to detect disabled or stopped cars. Why NOT? If the viewing areas will have steel mesh below them, and the bridge’s eight lanes will be visually monitored by site security, why not have motion detectors?

Is it expensive? The project is already costing a pretty penny, as my nana used to say. Can’t be about the money. Well, it did take three barge incidents to get folks moving on GPS devices for construction equipment. Would the motion sensors be triggered by stop-and-go traffic? And if they are, so what?

I’m curious. It’s a simple question that I asked in September 2012, when project officials came to Tarrytown:  What precautions would be in place? It happened the previous week, so I expected a different answer. ARUP engineering principal Mark Roche said there will be fences, and constant video surveillance with someone showing up immediately whenever a car stopped.

What is immediately? Few seconds later? Where will the person watching the bridge be located — on it, somewhere? In the air? — so he or she can get to a distressed motorist immediately?

It was a little after 5 a.m. Would someone be there immediately at that time, or any time if, God forbid, it happened again? First responders I interviewed nearly two years ago rolled their eyes at the thought of double spans.

There is talk of putting steel mesh on the Golden Gate Bridge. From this article:

“Officials have drawn up plans to install a safety net beneath the span’s sidewalks to catch people who jump but are still seeking the estimated $66 million needed to construct it. In 2011, a firm was given $5 million to design the net, (Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District spokeswoman Mary) Currie said.

For now, officials work to prevent suicides with law enforcement officers on bicycle patrols. At any given time, two to four officers are on the bridge’s sidewalks, said California Highway Patrol spokesman Andrew Barclay.”

What is being done about enhanced safety and prevention on the Tappan Zee Bridge today?

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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