Following the motor vehicle accident on County Road 39 on July 25 that had traffic at a standstill for nearly nine hours, Southampton Councilwoman Bridget Fleming and Councilwoman Christine Scalera pulled together a group to employ solutions that will aid in the improvement of traffic flow and communication to the public.
The group is comprised of town board members, Southampton Town Police, Southampton Village officials, the public transportation and traffic safety director, and the community response center.
“We are extremely aware of the need for an increase in focus to get traffic moving after a motor vehicle accident of this magnitude,” said Councilwoman Fleming, “during the months since the summer, we have turned our attention to pulling all of our resources together to accomplish the goals the group is putting forth.”
“Unfortunately the reality of our current roadway system is such that these tragic accidents not only affect the individuals and family members involved, but with closures upwards of four hours, they also negatively impact area hospitals, schools and local businesses,” stated Councilwoman Scalera.
Both council members noted that the group will implement a three pronged approach which will enhance communications, help to get traffic moving, and aid in the clean-up efforts.
The first action taken is to have a designated senior police officer on scene as the operations commander. This officer will be tasked with getting information about the accident to the town’s citizen response center and town officials, and will actively update the CRC office personnel every 30 minutes, until the scene is clear.
Secondly, the group will work with the town’s traffic safety director, the department of transportation and traffic control officers to most efficiently direct traffic flow. The final item will be the implementation of an improved system of communication to the public via Suffolk County’s CodeRed system, the town’s website and the CRC office.
“Working with multiple agencies and putting procedures in place to expedite investigations and keeping the public informed will certainly help to lessen the impact on the Town’s residents.” said Chief Robert Pearce, “the Police Department is fully aware of the inconvenience involved to commuters when the decision is made to shutdown a highway and that decision will not be made unless it is absolutely necessary.”
“We understand that — to the extent possible — keeping people apprised of the anticipated length of traffic delays is crucial for making alternate travel and work plans. To this end the addition of traffic status signs will be helpful — and we thank the State Department of Transportation for agreeing to provide these signs between Memorial Day and Labor Day,” said Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.
“The village is very happy that we are collaborating and taking a proactive approach and we hope to resolve the issues of eliminating major traffic congestion when accidents have occurred on County Rd 39,” stated Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley.