MTA Bridges and Tunnels ready to battle storm

December 18, 2009 1:38:39 PM PST
With winter weather fast approaching, MTA Bridges and Tunnels is primed and ready to hit the roadways with snow and ice-fighting supplies that include 8,000 tons of deicer and a fleet of 97 trucks. "Our chief priority is to make sure our customers can travel safely at all of our crossings," said Chief Maintenance Officer Patrick Parisi.

The effort will be helped by about 30 new trucks equipped with ground temperature sensors that will provide the operator with important information about roadway conditions.

"The sensors on the new trucks will provide additional data about conditions in areas such as ramps that are not covered by embedded roadway sensors," Parisi said. "This will help plow and deice areas even more efficiently, and ultimately provide safer driving conditions for customers."

The new sensor-equipped trucks are replacing vehicles that have reached the end of their useful life. When winter is over, the snow plows are removed and the trucks are used year-round for maintenance work.

The trucks used to spread the deicer also include computers that help regulate and calculate the amount of deicer needed on the roadway. These smart trucks can even modify the flow of the deicer depending on the truck's speed, which allows for a more even application on the roadway.

In addition to the trucks, embedded roadway deck sensors act as the first line of defense during inclement weather. The sensors act as an early warning system, helping Bridges and Tunnels personnel detect freezing conditions, which can be alleviated by deicing the roadway deck before a buildup of ice and snow occurs.

The material used to melt snow and ice on roadways is sometimes referred to as salt but is actually an anti-corrosive deicer with an additive that inhibits corrosion of structural steel on the agency's bridges.

And when the weather or other incidents affect traffic, customers have an extra information tool at their disposal: MTA email alerts. These text-message or e-mail alerts, sent to phones or computers, give motorists information about issues at any of MTA 's seven bridges and two tunnels. Signing up is easy, just visit and look for the email alert box on the homepage.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels' crossings, which connect the five boroughs of New York City, are the Throgs Neck, Bronx-Whitestone, Henry Hudson, Verrazano-Narrows, Robert F. Kennedy, Cross Bay Veterans Memorial and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Bridges and the Queens Midtown and Brooklyn-Battery Tunnels.

Maintainer A.J. Forgo helps Bridges and Tunnels get ready for winter by attaching plow to front of maintenance truck.