NYSDOT Installs I-81 Emergency Closure Gates

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Regional Director Carl Ford today announced the installation of emergency road closure gates at four entrances to southbound Interstate 81 in northern Oswego County. These gates will be used to block traffic from entering the highway in the event I-81 needs to be closed because of weather or other emergency conditions.

Each ramp gate consists of reflective straps stretched between “Do Not Enter” signs with a “Road Closed” sign in the middle of the assembly. The gates are located at the beginning of the on-ramps and can be set up to keep traffic from entering onto the closed section of highway. A closure can quickly and easily be deployed by first responders and would remain in place until the emergency condition subsides. When a closure is in effect, traffic will be sent to U.S. Route 11, the primary detour route for I-81 in this area.

Signs and hardware for the gates have been installed at the following southbound on-ramps to I-81:

Sandy Creek (Exit 37)
Pulaski (Exit 36)
Tinker Tavern Road (Exit 35)
Mexico (Exit 34)

The implementation of this system was realized through the collaborative efforts of NYSDOT, the New York State Police, Oswego County Fire, Oswego County Department of Public Works, and law enforcement units, fire departments and local officials from various towns and villages.

Additional resources included in this initiative include the deployment and coordination of Variable Message Signs and remote operation of the twelve traffic signals along the detour route. Real-time data on traffic restrictions, road closures and re-openings is always available through NYSDOT’s travel information system by calling 511 or visiting www.511ny.gov.

This initiative is part of a pilot program that may be expanded in the future to include I-81 northbound and other locations in Oswego County.