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State DOT to winterize bridge strike prevention tactics on Onondaga Lake Parkway

SALINA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In the days ahead, the State Department of Transportation plans to winterize the changes it made to Onondaga Lake Parkway over the summer.

Drivers should expect work Tuesday, Dec. 19 through Wednesday and Thursday.

Barrels used as barriers for lane closures, which are susceptible to being knocked over or thrown by snow plows, will be replaced with taller and skinnier reflective poles anchored to the ground.

Pavement markings showing the new traffic pattern that had been stickers have been replaced with painted markings.

The number of lanes were reduced over the summer as part of the DOT’s plan to stop a record number of trucks hitting the CSX bridge over the Parkway. Other improvements include new signs, slower traffic speeds and closing the ramp from I-81 to the Parkway westbound.

When asked if the changes are working, DOT Regional Director Dave Smith said: “The early metrics show that the eastbound direction still remains a problem.”

Eastbound, from the Village of Liverpool, four trucks have hit the bridge.

Early next year, the Village plans to enforce its already-announced ban on trucks.

Westbound, it appeared to have been no hits. The DOT confirmed Friday at least one instance of a truck squeezing under the bridge, but because damage was minimal, it didn’t get much attention.

Even so, the number of trucks hitting the bridge westbound is lower and credited to the closed I-81 ramp.

The DOT is still evaluating whether any of the format changes will be permanent, and especially aware the ramp closure inconveniences a majority of drivers.

In the past, the DOT has said its strategy for the Parkway includes short-term, medium-term and long-term solutions.

Medium-term, yet to happen, include an enhanced detection system and improved electronic signage.

Long-term, discussions continue about how to physically move or change the bridge.

“I would say it’s not being rejected at this point,” Smith said, referring to possible changes, “and I think there will be further conversation about that.”

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