NY, NORTHWAY - Emergency System Went Down in January Due to Y2K Glitch; 11 of 62 Still Inactive

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First published: Thursday, May 11, 2000 Title: Most Northway phones repaired

Emergency system went down in January due to Y2K glitch; 11 of 62 still inactive

RAY BROOK -- A Y2K glitch in the Northway's emergency phone system has been largely repaired in time for the summer onslaught of travelers to the Adirondacks.

However, 11 of the 62 emergency phones, located every two miles between Pottersville, Warren County, and Peru, Clinton County, remain inactive, according to William Callahan, civilian administrative officer for the State Police.

Callahan said he was unsure exactly where the broken phones are located.

"The system is 1980s vintage,'' said Callahan. "We tested it January 1, and due to a Y2K software malfunction, it did not work.''

He said that the entire system was down for "a period in January,'' and the remaining phones have yet to be fixed due to a lack of parts.

"We had a vendor in and the majority were fixed,'' said Callahan. But as recently as Wednesday, authorities removed two phone boxes from the system because they could not be fixed.

Callahan said that of the 11 nonfunctioning phones, six are currently being repaired, three are due to be repaired and the status of two phones is questionable.

The solar-powered phones rest in yellow boxes on both sides of the Northway on 13-foot poles. They're the only such phones on the Northway, linked via microwave to police stations in Warren County and State Police Troop B Headquarters in Essex County.

The two police stations receive an average of 22 emergency calls from motorists per month, according to Callahan.

State Police purchased the system from Signal Communications Corp. of Woburn, Mass., in 1989 for $650,000, Callahan said.

"We're thinking of replacing the existing system with updated technology,'' said Callahan of the antiquated system. "We are in the process of looking at various alternatives like cellular.''

The same phone system shut down in September for repairs, and for a day last July due to lightning.

"Lightning, accidents and vandalism are a constant source of the system's outage,'' said Callahan.



-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), May 11, 2000

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