B&T Readies Winter Storm Equipment

Bridges and Tunnels' snow and ice fighting arsenal, which includes 9,000 tons of deicer and a fleet of 102 trucks, is ready for the annual winter battle against Mother Nature.

B&T Readies  Winter Storm Equipment

Last year, Operations personnel battled 8 storms, including the post-Christmas blizzard that socked the city with more than 20-inches of snow. As a result of that storm, the MTA instituted new snowstorm preparedness procedures for all of its agencies. Bridges and Tunnels personnel will institute snow procedures based on the following 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 Robert F. Kennedy, Verrazano-Narrows, Bronx-Whitestone and Throgs Neck may be intermittently closed following an ice/snow event due to dangerous conditions that result from ice falling from the bridges' cables.

B&T's snow fleet, which is made up of regular maintenance trucks that are turned into snow plows during winter, includes 45 vehicles equipped with ground temperature sensors. These sensors 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 seven bridges also are equipped with imbedded roadway sensors and above-ground atmospheric sensors that record data, including temperatures on the ground, wind velocity, and precipitation used to determine if speed restrictions are necessary.

"We use every technology available to battle winter storms and keep our bridges and tunnels as safe as possible for the 800,000 motorists who depend on us daily," said Bridges and Tunnels Chief Maintenance Officer Pat Parisi.

This includes deicer material used to melt snow and ice, which is sometimes referred to as salt but is actually rock salt coated with an anti-corrosive additive that inhibits corrosion of structural steel on the agency's bridges.