NEW CASTLE, N.Y. -- First-responders throughout northern Westchester are preparing for the worst when the scheduled overhaul of the Taconic State Parkway begins on Monday.
The construction of the northbound AMVETS Bridge, which is scheduled to end on Nov. 9, will shift traffic into four lanes on the southbound side from Pines Bridge Road in New Castle to Underhill Avenue in Yorktown. The southbound lanes will be reduced from 11 feet to 9 feet.
"We anticipate there may be some difficulties that arise from those," said Greg Santone, first assistant chief of the Millwood Fire Department. "Even if the volume of incidents didn’t increase, the difficulty of reaching the incidents will be substantially increased."
To reach the tighter spaces, the Millwood Fire Department outfitted a four-wheel drive utility vehicle with lights, radios and limited equipment.
"If we can’t access an incident with a larger apparatus, we hope that the four-wheel drive, smaller utility will give us a little flexibility there also," Santone said.
In anticipation of the difficulties, the Millwood Fire Department will be running a dual response with the Yorktown Fire Department. According to Santone, Yorktown may be able to reach accidents in northbound lanes quicker, while Millwood may be able to reach accidents in the southbound lane quicker.
"We anticipate traffic backing up very quickly," Santone said. "It could be a mechanical breakdown, it could be a fender bender, it doesn’t take much to clog up two lanes in the middle of rush hour."
Along with expecting more accidents on the Taconic, Santone is prepared for the possibility of similar increases on the alternate routes.
"They’re looking at shedding 2,200 vehicles an hour during the morning rush, and something like 1,700 per hour northbound in the evening rush," Santone said. "So in addition to the Taconic being an issue, we also anticipate high volumes of traffic on Route 100."