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Boro highways to hell

Bronx Times

Call them Bronx highways to hell.

After the deadly crash on the Bronx River Parkway that killed seven people last month, the American Automobile Association of New York released its list of borough roadways that give its safety experts cause for concern.

The list includes stretches of the Cross Bronx Expressway, the Bronx River Parkway, the Hutchinson River Parkway, and the Saw Mill River Parkway.

“We stuck to major highways in the Bronx, said AAA New York spokesman Robert Sinclair Jr.

He said that after the most recent drive-through of the highways, “multiple issues” surround the Cross Bronx Expressway.

“There’s traffic substandard interchanges, dangerous on- and off- ramps and severe around the clock congestion,” Sinclair said.

“We have gotten some recent repairs to the pavement and lighting,” he added, “but the area is still the number one congestion nightmare.”

The next most hazardous highway on Sinclair’s list was the Bronx River Parkway.

“This is continually on our list of problems,” he said. “It has been for a while. There are substandard design elements throughout the highway, it has very steep narrow lanes, the on- and off-ramps are too short, and there is no breakdown lane.”

Sinclair said not having a break down lane on a highway is a major cause for concern, with no place to safely pull off the road.

“Not only is it a safety hazard, but it also backs things up if a person is having car trouble and has to stop in the middle of the road,” he said.

The Hutchinson River Parkway and the Saw Mill River Parkway are two other highways that have continued to pose safety threats.

“With the Hutchinson River Parkway, there is the consistent problem of trucks hitting overpasses in multiple places,” Sinclair said. “The other problem is where the Hutch interchanges with the Cross County. It gets overloaded.It really was just poorly designed.”

The major problem with the Saw Mill Parkway, he said, is the narrow winding roads and the traffic lights.

“Why are there traffic lights on a highway?” he asked. “You will be driving around a blind curve, and all of sudden there will be a light out of nowhere, and if that light is red that is a serious problem.”

What does Sinclair suggest be done about the accident-prone roadways?

“Many, many dollars and big, big style projects such as the one that they did in Boston,” he said. “We need to be updated. We are the number one city in nation, but we have some of the worst roads and bridges. It hurts us economically.”

But even as the roads remain dangerous, fatalities have dropped steadily over the years, according to the state Department of Transportation, with 237 fatalities in 2011, a 40% drop since 2001.

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