Monday, July 02, 2007

Tappan Zee Bridge Needs A Dedicated,Improved Bridge Patrol

With all the serious incidents on the Tappan Zee Bridge over the past years, and with the bridge being obsolete for current traffic load, should the Thruway Authority increase the manpower, equipment, and training of the Bridge Patrol?

For instance, the Port Authority George Washington Bridge Division just took delivery of a do-it-all 2007 Pierce Lance Engine (as featured in Fire Apparatus Journal July-August '07 Page 25) that has a 1250GPM pump, 2500 gallon water tank, 300 gallons foam tank, 6 ground sweep nozzles, extrication equpment, hazardous materials supplies and references, light tower, plenty of hose, EMS Equipment, and a multi-agency command cab. This is to supplement their quick response patrol wreckers that also have some fire suppresion and extrication capabilities. All of these trucks can be seen on

In my opinion, I feel the TZ Bridge does need an improved emergency response squad. Given traffic conditions and the unique nature of the bridge, this would mitigate incidents much more quickly, and possibly limit the need for multiple agencies to abandon their districts to cover an incident....instead, they could be supplemental.

The bridge used to be much better covered by "Wrecker 1", with them having their own fire engine, better staffing, and training at the Rockland Fire Training Center, but it seems budget cuts have resulted in cutbacks.

These positions should be trained to a career firefighter level, rescue technician, and master wrecker operator, and it should be a civil service position. Two men should patrol the bridge in a better equipped wrecker then they have now, and a third crew member should man the fire apparatus at the Tarrytown Barracks. Add an additonal patrol wrecker for peak travel times. Tarrytown, Central Nyack, and the EMS agencies should still respond, as directed by the Thruway Authority Crew Chief.

In fact, the Thruway Authority TZ Bridge might benefit from an airport-style crash rescue vehice with snozzle.

Anyways, that's just my thoughts.