New Barriers Going In On Bronx Parkway Where 7 Died

(Photo by Flckr / frugg)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Seven people died Sunday when an SUV hit a curb on a stretch of the Bronx River Parkway and vaulted over a guardrail into a ravine on land owned by The Bronx Zoo. Several cars have had similar crashes there in recent years. Now state transportation officials are taking steps to make the road safer.

They're installing a line of concrete barriers that are 2 feet eight-inches tall between the right lane of traffic and the curb. The idea is that if an SUV hits the center divider and swerves sharply right across three lanes, as happened Sunday, it's supposed to hit the barrier and stay on the road rather than hitting the curb and getting propelled over the guardrail.

But another issue is how fast drivers take that stretch of road. The SUV was speeding through the 50 mile per hour zone at 68 miles per hour. New York State DOT spokesman William Reynolds said the speed limit will drop to 35 miles per hour during construction and may remain lower than 50 mph when the project is done--which he expects will be by the end of next week. He didn't know how much the improvements would cost the state DOT.

He also said police will be strictly enforcing the new lower speed limit around the raised parts of the parkway. "We believe the corridor is safe as long as you travel at the appropriate speed," he said.