Duprey Calls for Temporary Cell Phone Coverage on the Northway

March 19, 2007
Janet L. Duprey has joined Senator Betty Little and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward in continuing to call for an interim plan for cell phone coverage while a permanent solution is developed.

Traffic on this international highway, which is the only direct route connecting New York City and Montreal, continues to increase each year. Although residents of the area know they will not have cell phone coverage, visitors are often not aware that for more than 50 miles between Exits 26 and 34 there will be no cell phone service.

Local officials and emergency service providers from throughout the North Country have joined the state legislators in calling for an immediate temporary solution to the lack of cell phone coverage along this dangerous stretch of the Northway. In one 20-mile stretch of I-87, there are about 75 accidents each year, including the tragic death of a Brooklyn man earlier this year.

Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey (R,I,C – Peru) stated, “Those of us who live in the Adirondacks enjoy the beauty of our area and want to preserve our natural surroundings. However, the safety and lives of residents, tourists, business travelers, truck drivers and everyone who travels the Northway are of primary concern. We must act immediately to provide adequate temporary cell phone coverage in the form of ‘cells on wheels’ (COWS).”

Duprey said that she welcomes increased State Police coverage of this area as proposed by Governor Spitzer. However, she noted, “The State Police cannot be in all areas at all times. Unless they see an accident occur, the victims’ lives could be lost while waiting for the next patrol to arrive.”

Discussions will continue with the Governor, regulatory agencies, interest groups and cell phone providers to finalize a permanent plan. Unfortunately, this long-term solution may take two years before it can become operational.

Duprey said this time-frame is simply unacceptable. “I am simply looking to prevent any further tragedies on the Northway and will continue to urge all parties to come together on a quick, interim plan designed to save lives.”