Florida's Turnpike and safety gate
By Peter Samuel
Chuck Elmore at Floridas Turnpike says his agency instituted the first safety gate to prevent toll collectors from casually crossing electronic toll-only lanes. We reported a similar gate we saw at the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The project manager there said the idea came from the kind of safety gates used on a number of fire trucks to prevent firemen falling off from their standing positions on the side when the firetruck careens around a corner. The gate is jointed so it will pull toward the person, or rise vertically to let them pass, but which will not simply push forward into the toll lanes. At least two tollsters we know of have had collectors killed since ET was introduced when they walked in front of vehicles, though in one case it was in a regular cash lane. Many agencies attempt to get collectors to use stairs and tunnels or bridges but even then some crossing of lanes at grade is inevitable.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike was the first place we had seen this gate, but Florida DOT Turnpike District and its engineering consultant Post Buckley deserve credit for being the first to deploy it to protect toll collectors. These safety gates use a system supplied by Fire Research Corp of Nesconset NY on Long Island which holds a patent on the important knuckle joint. Its marketed under the brand name Mansaver, catalog number MS-11A. (Chuck.ELMORE@dot.state.fl.us 850 877 7275, Jack McLaughlin Fire Research Corp 800 645 0074)