New concrete barriers will be installed along the Bronx River Parkway where a fatal accident claimed the lives of seven family members on Sunday when their SUV jumped a guardrail, plunging 59 feet below to land owned by the Bronx Zoo.
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald told the Associated Press that safety concerns along that stretch of highway are being addressed and that the barriers will be installed on the outside travel lane -- also known as the left or passing lane -- on three Bronx River Parkway viaducts.
News of the much-needed upgraded came after a 45-year-old Bronx woman named Maria Gonzalez was killed along with her parents, daughter, nieces and sister on Sunday when her 2004 Honda Pilot hit a center media, crossed three lanes of southbound traffic, went airborne and over the 4-foot guardrail.
Police said Gonzalez was driving 68 mph when she struck the barrier. Medics pronounced all seven occupants dead at the crash scene.
McDonald told the AP that crews also began working on Wednesday morning on signs and striping on the highway.
The section of the highway where the three generations of family members lost their lives was listed in the U.S. Department of Transportation's 5 Percent Report as one of the states' interchanges with the most severe highway safety needs. Authorities said $8 million would be needed to repair the highway, providing a standard deceleration lane and improving the sight distance at the 177th Street exit ramp. Work is set to begin in 2016, according to the report.
New York identified three southbound areas along the highway in need of safety upgrades: Bronx River Parkway: E 174th St overpass to Cross Bronx Expressway Overpass; Bronx River Parkway: Cross Bronx Expressway Overpass to north of Morris Park Ave Underpass; and Bronx River Parkway: On ramp from East Gun Hill Road to Off ramp to East Gun Hill Road.
Robert Sinclair, spokesman for the American Automobile Association's New York City affiliate, told the AP that the Bronx River Parkway lacks modern transportation engineering features.