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Public Employee Press
Each weekday before dawn lights the
citys horizon, a bright yellow DOT vehicle snakes along the Long
Island Expressway, creating a new traffic lane for the morning rush hour.
Traveling at 4 miles per hour, the Barrier Systems vehicle gives the Dept.
of Transportation the flexibility to increase the number of inbound lanes
without widening the roadway, saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
The Barrier Systems machine is unique
there are only 20 in the world. It takes two of DOTs Traffic
Device Maintainers (TDMs), members of Traffic Employees Local 1455, to
drive the vehicle, which has steering wheels at opposite ends.
Using a complex system of computers,
hydraulics, a thin blue guideline and walkie-talkies for constant communication
and coordination, the men shift the movable concrete median with ease.
TDMs John Ruhwedel, Joe Miller, Henry Frey III, Steve Eyring and supervisor
George Bruno shift the LIE lane daily.
The New York State Dept. of Transportation
In-House Structures Unit designed the project and purchased the machinery
and barriers, and construction personnel trained the DOT crew on its operation.