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Preventing Snow And Ice Tragedy On NJ Toll Roads [AUDIO]

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority was supposed to come up with a system a couple of years ago to clean hazardous snow and ice from the tops of trucks traveling the toll toads, but so far, nothing has happened.

Flickr User Akeg

So, what’s going on?

During a special hearing before the Assembly Transportation Committee, Turnpike Authority Executive Director Ronnie Hakim told members of the panel, “this is a harder issue than it sounds like at first blush. We looked at what is the available technology for being able to address all different kinds of trucks and vehicles, sizes, heights, widths…and it doesn’t really seem like that technology is right – everything seemed to have problems with it.”

She said, “The only thing we can come up with is an actual truck wash facility- and in the process of literally washing the truck – or other vehicle – offer to accomplish getting the snow or ice off the top of it…it’s something we need to address and we’re just struggling to trying to figure out how to do so in a way that works.”

Assembly Transportation Committee Chair John Wisniewski said when the legislation was enacted a few years ago, “people attended hearings and showed us one or more different examples of gantrys that could be erected, the trucks could be driven through, and if the consideration is going through the expense and the time of building a truck wash, which is very expensive. You would be able to put the same type of trucks through a gantry that would scrape the snow and ice off the top. Why would you go to the extent of looking at truck washes when you have gantrys that would do the same thing?”

Hakim responded, “That’s possible if they’ve improved the gantry system over the last couple of years- and perhaps they have, and perhaps that will be a better result for us. But the initial gantry system that was available, while it kinda looked good in catalogue cuts, didn’t really seem to be the kind of facility that would be effective…I think it really relates to the variety of trucks that we have.”

Wisniewski suggested that the Turnpike Authority “try a pilot program – we’re coming up on a season that’s supposed to be cold and snowy…We ought to try to see if a gantry system works. When we had people here testifying a gantry system was less than 20 thousand dollars, why don’t we see how it works before we start talking about spending a lot of money on truck washes? I can see the spin tomorrow morning on 101.5, where there would be a certain radio personality providing entertainment talking about how the legislature now wants truck washes everywhere – and that’s not what we want.”

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