- Last Updated: 6:54 AM, May 3, 2012
- Posted: 2:04 AM, May 3, 2012
Tomas E. Gaston
Seven people had to die before the state finally got around to fixing a stretch of Bronx highway that’s been a known danger for years.
Crews took the first steps yesterday toward implementing the new safety measures — including barriers, reflectors and lane striping — on the Bronx River Parkway where an SUV flew off an overpass and killed seven members of one family.
Workers will install 4,000 feet of concrete “Jersey” barriers on the overpasses near the Bronx Zoo, as well as 50 new caution signs and reflectors.
Officials are also weighing a lower speed limit through the area, said Department of Transportation spokesman Adam Levine.
While work is under way, the speed limit will be cut from 40 mph to 35.
Motorists say the changes should have happened a lot sooner.
“It’s good, but I think it’s too late. They should have done that before,” said Bronx resident Martha Campuzano, 31, referring to Sunday’s highway carnage as she traveled past the scene yesterday.
Safety advocates have long complained about the Bronx Zoo overpasses.
Since 2008, an area just south of the crash site has been on the state’s list of most dangerous highway stretches. An estimated $8 million repair job that would have extended north to the zoo overpasses is scheduled to be finished in 2022.
Something needs to be done about the roadway, said Juan Gonzalez, who lost his wife, daughter and other relatives in the crash. But he was more concerned yesterday with making funeral arrangements.
“Right now my mind is somewhere else,” he said.
His wife, Maria “Fina” Gonzalez, was likely driving at about 70 mph when her Honda Pilot hit a curb and hurtled over a guardrail into a wooded area of the zoo, say cops.
The state should have fixed the roadway long ago, said family lawyer José Antonio Rodriguez. “If it took something like this for them to expedite matters, it’s unfortunate,” he said.
Plans to improve Bronx crash site:
* 4,000 feet of concrete “Jersey” barriers
* 50 new signs and reflectors
* New lane striping
* Possible lower speed limit