Skip to main content

Northway "Send Help" Sign


A number of years ago, the New York State Department of Transportation offered foldout Motorist Assistance Maps at rest areas along the Adirondack Northway section of Interstate 87. At the time, cellular phone service was quite sporadic, especially as you descended upon the Adirondacks north of Lake George, and then picked up again once you got out of the mountains near Plattsburgh. So what was the stranded motorist with vehicle issues to do? In Essex County, there were call boxes once every two miles. But there were also the motorist assistance maps which displayed "SEND HELP" in bold letters when folded out. But there were more to signs than just a means to convey that you needed help with the situation at hand.

Sign from May 2007 from I-87 in northern Warren County, New York indicating that there were emergency phones every two miles for the next 64 miles. And yes, there were call boxes alongside the highway for emergency purposes.
Cover of the Interstate 87 Motorist Assistance Map.

The insides of the foldout include such useful pieces of information as a map of the Northway from Albany to the Canadian border, an exit guide showing exit numbers, destinations and mileposts along the entire stretch of the Northway, along with tidbits on emergency motorist aid information and how to read mile markers. In the winter of 2007, there was a controversy regarding cell phone service on the Northway after two men had died while being stranded on I-87 in the Adirondacks and there was no way to call for help. Within a few years, cell phone service was introduced along the highway and these motorist assistance maps were phased out, but not before I could grab my own copy. This particular version was published in April 2007.

Map of the Northway, including rest areas and parking areas (they were not also serving as text stops back then).

Exit guide, traveler information.

The author of this blog article, jokingly flashing the Send Help sign to a security camera back in 2011.


Sources and Links:
Adirondack Northway Cell Phone Controversy - Adirondack Almanack

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

History of the Big Oak Flat Road (Yosemite National Park)

This week I hiked much of what was the original alignment of the Big Oak Flat Road which is located to the north of the modern roadway.  Unlike the original alignment of the Wawona Road the Old Big Oak Flat Road is surprisingly intact.


The complete history of the Big Oak Flat Road including the original alignment can be found on a 2002 report from the U.S. Department of Interior on the Old Big Oak Flat Road.

U.S. Department of the Interior on the Old Big Oak Flat Road

The Big Oak Flat Road began construction east from the mining community of Big Oak Flat in towards Yosemite Valley in 1869.  The Big Oak Flat Road was constructed by the Chinese Camp and Yosemite Turnpike Company which had secured the franchise rights for a toll road to the Yosemite Grant (the designation prior to Yosemite National Park).  By the summer of 1871 the Big Oak Flat Road reached the northern cliffs above Yosemite Valley which is when the Chinese Camp and Yosemite Turnpike Company ran out of funding.  After the…

Horseshoe Meadows Road; former California State Route 190 and the legacy of the Lone Pine-Porterville HIgh Sierra Road

This summer I had an opportunity to drive one of the lesser known great roads of California; Horseshoe Meadows Road from Whitney Portal Road westward into Horseshoe Meadows of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Aside from being massive climb into the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains the path of Horseshoe Meadows Road was once part of California State Route 190 and was intended to be part of a Trans-Sierra Highway known as the Lone Pine-Porterville High Sierra Road.


Horseshoe Meadows Road is located west of Lone Pine of Inyo County and is 19.7 miles in length.  Horseshoe Meadows Road begins at an approximate elevation of 4,500 feet above sea level at Whitney Portal Road in the Alabama Hills and ends at an elevation of 10,072 feet above sea level in Horseshoe Meadows.  Horseshoe Meadows Road is the second highest paved road in California only behind Rock Creek Road near Tom's Place.  Pjammcycling rates Horseshoe Meadows Road with an average gradient of 6.2% and lists it as th…

The Tioga Pass Road

Last Summer the Tioga Pass Road over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Yosemite National Park opened late due to the heavy snow pack from the previous winter.  Approaching the start of July the Park Service finally had cleared the road to Tioga Pass.  That being the case I headed up shortly after the 4th of July holiday during a lull in the tourist season.


The Tioga Pass Road runs from the Big Oak Flat Road at Crane Flat east to US Route 395 ("US 395").  The Tioga Pass Road is largely within the boundary of Yosemite National Park but is maintained by Caltrans as California State Route 120 ("CA 120") east of the Tioga Pass entry station to US 395.  The National Park Service maintained portion of the Tioga Pass Road serve as a implied connection between the two segments of CA 120.  The Tioga Pass Road is the highway mountain pass in California reaching Tioga Pass at 9,945 feet above sea level.



Part 1; the history of the Tioga Pass Road

Tioga Pass first obtained notewort…