New York State DOT implements detection systems to prevent bridge strike accidents

April 7, 2015

New York State DOT installing more over-height detection warning systems to prevent "bridge strikes" from occuring.

According to data from the New York State Department of Transportation, 164 vehicles struck bridges last year in New York City, the Hudson Valley and Long Island. More than 250 trucks driving in New York City either illegally entered parkways or hit overpasses during 2013 and 2014.

The state of New York is attempting to prevent these types of bridge-related wrecks by installing over-height vehicle detection systems at parkway entrances. 

A spokesman from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said that the state had completed the latest detection system installations at two interchanges on the Hutchinson River Parkway.

The department has started using technology such as truck height detectors, cameras and electric signs to warn truck drivers of upcoming parkway clearance heights.

Another prevention strategy for so-called “bridge strikes” caused by over-height vehicles is GIS and KML format map data that the New York City DOT began releasing 2009.  The data shows truck routes and low bridges throughout the city.

The arch bridges on the parkways located in the state’s lower Hudson Valley typically have vertical clearances between 8 ft and 11 ft, according to a 2011 report on bridge strikes that the New York State DOT sponsored. Some parkway bridges have clearances as low as 6 ft 11 in.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, most states set height limits for commercial vehicles between 13 ft 6 in. and 14 ft.

The New York State DOT does not have data on whether or not the number of bridge strikes has decreases since the system was put in place.