Southampton Town Board Members Propose Solutions To Traffic Gridlock After Major Accidents

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Four months after a fatal car crash on County Road 39 that left one woman dead and hundreds of drivers trapped in traffic for an entire workday, the Southampton Town Board has come up with strategies to try to prevent future gridlock.

Councilwomen Bridget Fleming and Christine Scalera held a series of meetings with Southampton Town Police, Southampton Village officials, the town’s Information Technology Department, the public transportation and traffic safety director, and the Community Response Center, and came up with a three-pronged approach.

“[The July crash] was unusual because of the length of the scene and how many people were impacted,” Ms. Fleming said. “Unusual events occur, but we can’t afford to have that level of paralysis again because of the impact on people’s lives.”

The first and most significant development is the creation of a designated senior officer to act as a point man during future crashes. This officer will provide updates on the status of the scene every half hour, Ms. Fleming said, to the Community Response Center, so that information about the crash can be shared with citizens throughout the town.

Communication will be improved, Ms. Fleming said, by having a roadside sign near the western entrance to the town on Sunrise Highway to warn drivers of upcoming traffic delays so they can plan accordingly. The town made use of similar signs during the final weeks of the summer following the crash.

The town also plans to improve communication through its website and by adding an alert system such as the CodeRed service used by Suffolk County to warn of delays through cellphone and computer alerts. Ms. Fleming said the town is looking into CodeRed as well as other systems and that all options are on the table in terms of financing one.

Finally, the town will work with traffic and transportation officials, including traffic control officers, to “most efficiently direct traffic flow,” according to a press release. Ms. Fleming could not specify what strategies will be used for this step.

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