Governor Announces Speed Reduction Advisories in Effect on Multiple Roads Across the State
35 MPH Speed Limit Advised on Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge; 45 Mile Per Hour Speed Limit Advised on Portions of New York State Thruway and Other Major State-Owned Highways
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed non-essential state employees in the Capital Region not to report to work tomorrow, December 2nd, due to weather conditions forecasted, including snow, black ice, wind and rain that will result in dangerous driving conditions. Non-essential employees who work in State offices in Albany, Schenectady, Columbia, Greene, Fulton, Montgomery, Washington, Rensselaer, Ulster, Schoharie and Saratoga Counties can stay home from work without having to charge accruals. If a State employee has any questions, they should contact their supervisor or Human Resources department.
Governor Cuomo also announced that the State Department of Transportation and the Thruway Authority are advising lower speed limits on a number of state-owned roadways to better protect motorists traveling during the current storm. Variable Message Signs have been strategically placed on these highways, letting motorists know of the slower recommended speeds. While NYSDOT and Thruway snowplows are out in full effect this evening, New York State Troopers have already responded to more than 550 storm-related crashes statewide and handled 252 disabled vehicles. No fatalities have been reported at this time.
"As this storm continues to move across the state, bringing with it heavy snowfall and black ice, we are continuing to take every step possible to help ensure New Yorkers are safe on the roads," Governor Cuomo said. "In addition to our asset and personnel deployments, we have issued speed reduction advisories on roadways across the state — and I strongly urge non-essential state employees in the counties outlined to stay home. For those who must travel, please use extreme caution and follow the new speed limits in place."
The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge currently has an advised speed limit of 35 miles per hour.
An advised speed limit of 45 miles per hour is now in effect on the following roads:
- All State owned Parkways in DOT Region 8 (Hudson Valley)
- I-81: PA line to Syracuse
- Route 17: Binghamton to I-84
- I-84: Entire length
- I-86: from PA line to Binghamton
- I-88: Binghamton to I-90
- I-99: Entire length
- I-684: Entire length
- I-90 - exit 36 to exit 24 (Albany)
- I-87 - from exit 24 to exit 15 including the Berkshire spur
Earlier today, Governor Cuomo placed National Guard personnel on standby and activated the state's Emergency Operations Center to enhanced monitoring mode as a severe winter storm passes through many parts of the state. The Governor deployed state agency commissioners from DHSES, DOT, Thruway Authority and State Police to regions expected to be hardest hit by the storm, and announced the state emergency response bunker will be open until the end of the storm.
Some of the most important tips for safe driving include:
- When winter storms strike, do not drive unless necessary.
- Use caution on bridges as ice can form quicker than on roads.
- Wet leaves on roadways can cause slippery conditions, making it important to drive at slower speeds when approaching patches of them.
- If you must travel, make sure your car is stocked with survival gear like blankets, a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, extra warm clothing, set of tire chains, battery booster cables, quick energy foods and brightly colored cloth to use as distress flag.
- If you have a cellphone or other communications device, such as a two-way radio available for your use, keep the battery charged and with you whenever traveling. If you should become stranded, you will be able to call for help, advising rescuers of your location.
The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation crashes. Before getting behind the wheel, make sure that your vehicle is clear of ice and snow; good vision is key to good driving. Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars. Be extra alert and remember that snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.
It is important for motorists on all roads to note that snowplows travel at speeds up to 35 mph, which in many cases is lower than the posted speed limit, to ensure that salt being dispersed stays in the driving lanes and does not scatter off the roadways. Oftentimes on interstate highways, snowplows will operate side by side, as this is the most efficient and safe way to clear several lanes at one time.
Motorists and pedestrians should also keep in mind that snowplow drivers have limited lines of sight, and the size and weight of snowplows can make it very difficult to maneuver and stop quickly. Snow blowing from behind the plow can severely reduce visibility or cause whiteout conditions. Motorists should not attempt to pass snowplows or follow too closely. The safest place for motorists to drive is well behind the snowplows where the roadway is clear and salted.
For a complete list of weather terms and preparation ideas before during and after a power outages, visit the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/outage/.