Orange County emergency I-84 crash gate step closer to becoming reality

Orange County officials are one step closer to a crash gate along I-84 - something they say could save lives.
Slate Hill Fire Chief Michael Dally, tells News 12 the department responds to emergencies on I-84 about once a week.
"And not just car accidents, we go out there for car fires, we go out there for a medical call. Someone could be pulled over on the road having a heart attack," he said.
"We had that major bus accident that was a few months ago, that was a big tragedy. However, to get the emergency responders there quickly, a crash gate would've been needed," said Assemblyman Karl Brabenec.
In these situations, time is of the essence, every second counts, and without a crash gate, which is an emergency access entrance for first responders so they can bypass traffic, response times are understandably​ slowed.
This is something that the fire department has been requesting for decades.
"The Slate Hill Fire Department had requested this emergency access almost 30 years ago and nothing was ever done, it was always delayed somewhere, " explained Brabenec.
While it might have taken the Farmingdale School District coach bus tragedy to get the ball rolling, the Federal Highway Administration has finally approved the state's proposal.
"But at least if anything good could come out of it, it would be this crash gate, and hopefully down the road it will help somebody or possibly save somebody else's life," said Chief Dally.
Officials are now in the design stages of the crash gate and expect construction to be done by the spring of 2024.