Highway Administration approves plan to build crash gate on I-84

Orange County. The need for such an entrance was highlighted earlier this year when a bus crash along the stretch of highway near Middletown and Wawayanda left two adult passengers dead.

| 29 Dec 2023 | 10:22

In a joint statement, Senator James Skoufis (D-42), Assemblyman Karl Brabenec (R-98), and Wawayanda Town Supervisor Denise Quinn announced that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) had approved the state’s proposal to establish a “crash gate” on I-84.

According to the announcement, local officials and first responders in Wawayanda had been calling for the installation of an emergency access point between the Goshen and Mountain Road exits — roughly a 10-mile stretch of interstate — for over 20 years, but approval by the FHWA had delayed implementation. However, when a charter bus carrying 40 students and four adults from Nassau County rolled into a ravine along this stretch of highway on September 21, resulting in two fatalities and 40 injuries, the need was made painfully clear.

“First responders have long argued that a new crash gate on I-84 could cut emergency response time by 10-15 minutes,” Senator Skoufis said. “After the accident in September, it was clear there wasn’t just a need, but an urgent need, so Assemblyman Brabenec, Supervisor Quinn, local first responders, and I did everything we could to get the wheels turning on this long-awaited investment. When life-saving care is needed, every second counts, and I’m thrilled that our partnership with officials has resulted in meaningful action by the state and the FHWA.”

”After decades of talk, I am absolutely thrilled that there is finally action on this critical project,” Assemblyman Brabenec said. “This new emergency access point for I-84 will certainly improve response time and will ultimately save lives. Thank you to all the first responders and emergency service workers for your continued commitment to our community. As new representatives for the town of Wawayanda, Senator Skoufis and I made this project a top priority and within a matter of months, we got this project moving. It shows that when government works bipartisanly, we can get important priorities accomplished for the safety and well-being of all the residents we represent!”

“I would like to thank state and federal support that have come together to move this project along expeditiously to improve access to I-84,” said Supervisor Quinn. “This crash gate will improve the time that first responders so critically need to get to an emergency situation on our interstate.”

On December 28, another severe accident involving multiple vehicles and tractor trailers shuttered I-84 for several hours at the Port Jervis exit as emergency responders worked to clear the scene.

A timeline for the crash gate has not yet been established, but with the approval by the FHWA, the process for contracting the work can now move forward.