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MTA Bridges and Tunnels Ready For Winter

Bridges and Tunnels truck hard at work at Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
Bridges and Tunnels truck hard at work at Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

MTA Bridges and Tunnels is ready for winter weather with 98 trucks in its snow and ice-fighting arsenal and more than 9,000 tons of anti-corrosive deicer, made of rock salt products treated with deicing additives which is significantly less corrosive to steel than salt alone.

The snow fleet, made up of regular maintenance trucks that are turned into snow plows and conveyors during winter months, includes 44 vehicles equipped with ground temperature sensors that tell the operator and bridge managers if the roadway is in danger of freezing. The operator then spreads additional deicer where it is needed.

The Authority's bridges also are equipped with imbedded roadway sensors for temperature and above-ground atmospheric sensors that deliver real-time information on wind velocity, wind direction, humidity and precipitation via wireless communication. These sensors record data used to determine if speed restrictions are necessary.

The MTA follows well-established plans designed to keep the region’s transportation systems up and running during harsh winter weather conditions, including a comprehensive winter-weather plan that was put in place after the unprecedented December 26, 2010 blizzard.

Bridges and Tunnels personnel will institute the following procedures during specific winter weather conditions: 

  • During light snowfall of less than 3 inches, motorists will be asked to operate at reduced speeds;
  • Under heavy or severe snow conditions where accumulations of snow or a combination of mixed snow and ice are above 3 inches, some roadway lanes or ramp closures may occur while snow removal and deicing operations are performed. Motorists will be asked to operate at reduced speeds;
  • In blizzard conditions, which may include dangerous whiteout conditions combining snow, high winds and/or ice, bridges, tunnels and entrance and exit ramps at all MTA crossings may be subject to closure for the safety of motorists and employees.

In addition, the agency’s four suspended bridge spans -- Robert F. Kennedy, Verrazano-Narrows, Bronx-Whitestone and Throgs Neck -- may be closed intermittently following an ice/snow event due to potentially hazardous conditions caused by ice melting from the bridges’ cables.

Lastly, to enhance our communications with customers, MTA has taken steps to insure its communications systems function well during any type of emergency.  The current website design allows for the quick posting of service information and includes a special weather page that becomes the mta.info homepage during weather-related events affecting operations. 

The MTA also partners with New York State DOT to provide current service information for all MTA agencies by telephone using 511.  The 511 system provides customers with one easy-to-remember phone number to access all MTA transportation information. 

Finally, MTA Bridges and Tunnels encourages motorists to sign up for e-mail or text alerts at www.mta.info to find out road conditions at our seven bridges and two tunnels before you leave home. Drivers can also find out road conditions before they leave home by downloading the free MTA Drive Time travel app, available for both iPhones and Android smartphones, and iPads at the Apple store or Google Play. The app gives real-time travel information for all nine MTA crossings. This is a tool to be used by drivers before they get behind the wheel, or by passengers. It should never be used while driving.