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Area of New York's 59th Street Bridge Scene of Two Accidents in Space of Nine Days

An exit ramp on New York City's 59th Street Bridge has been the location of two serious auto accidents in less than two weeks, according to the New York Post. The 59th Street Bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens and has spanned the East River since 1909. On March 28, 2011, at 4 a.m., a car failed to negotiate a turn in the Queens side exit ramp, struck a guardrail, and then went airborne. The vehicle flew into a building housing a beauty parlor and restaurant, and struck a pedestrian who died at the scene. The driver of the vehicle was seriously injured.

Striking Similarities in Accidents

On April 7, 2011, again at 4 a.m., a second car left the bridge in the exact same spot and landed on the same restaurant as in the prior accident. A passenger in the vehicle was hospitalized with severe heard trauma. The driver of the vehicle was reported to be in stable condition. The driver was arrested on the scene, according to police.

Excessive Speed a Factor

An unnamed source reported that the exit ramp had been repaired in 2007. He noted that excessive speed was involved in both accidents, with both vehicles traveling at approximately 60 mph. The source also stated that it appeared that both vehicles hit something on the exit ramp. The speed limit on the bridge is 30 mph, but cars routinely exceed it. Satellite photos of the exit ramp reveal that it consists of a 90-degree turn where all eastbound traffic exits. The New York City Department of Transportation reportedly will be adding more signs to remind motorists of the 30-mph speed limit. Rumble strips and 20 mph exit signs will also be installed. In addition, concrete barriers were placed in front of the businesses on street level that were struck repeatedly by the airborne vehicles.

Local Authorities May Bear Some Liability

Municipal authorities can often be sued for faulty road conditions if it can be shown that the municipality had notice of a dangerous condition but failed to take any corrective action. Some municipalities, however, may have special procedures that must be complied with. If you or a family member has been injured by an unsafe road condition, consult with an attorney who has experience dealing with such cases.