Thruway Authority setting up 24/7 center as storm hits region

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A storm rolled through the area, dumping inches of snow around parts of Western New York. While the snow and cold move through the region, the Thruway Authority is making sure these roadways stay clear and safe.

It’s not an easy task for them. It’s a round-the-clock right now- with crews set up in the Thruway Authority Division Operations Center at the local headquarters. The interim executive director, Maria Lehman, says there is a lot of technology, planning and communication behind these operations.

“We set up so we can run 24/7,” said Maria Lehman, the interim executive director for the Thruway Authority. “[To] be able to track the movement of where we’re sending people and plows.”

One major piece– tracking the more than 50 traffic cameras along the Thruway; looking for back ups and crashes, reporting them to authorities and sending out alerts for drivers.

They also keep use GPS to follow about 60 plow trucks- looking at their routes, following their speed to know what conditions might be like in that area. The plows usually try to keep a pace moving at 35MPH. If those following the GPS systems see they’re going slower, the team back at the operation center pulls up a camera nearby to check out the reasoning behind a slower pace, seeing if it is due to traffic or white out conditions.

“Our mantra is ‘No one gets stranded; everyone goes home’,” said Lehman. “The only way we can assure that with these storms, with the heavy lake effect snow is making sure we have those resources.”

 

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