by Rick Pezzullo
Construction of the New NY Bridge was going smoothly until a large crane crashed mid-day July 19 on the existing Tappan Zee Bridge, shutting down traffic in both directions for several hours, but miraculously avoiding any serious injuries or crashes.
The mishap, the cause of which remains under investigation but appears to be equipment malfunction-related, damaged one Westchester-bound lane on the Tappan Zee.
Despite the short-lived hiccup, the $3.98 billion project remains on track to be completed in 2018, according to New York State Thruway Authority and Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC officials, who mentioned during a recent community meeting at Washington Irving Elementary School the only prior challenges faced during construction were sub-surface issues and getting manufacturers and suppliers to cooperate in a timely manner.
“The New NY Bridge is a reminder of what the great state of New York can do when it thinks big, and is a testament to the thousands of hardworking men and women designing and building it,”
Governor Andrew Cuomo stated. “When I see that bridge you know what I say? Yes we can.”
Construction of the new three-mile span began in 2013. The state-of-the-art structure will include eight traffic lanes and four breakdown and emergency lanes. It is designed to handle “extreme” loadings and blastings and have an anticipated service life of 100 years. The current Tappan Zee was built in 1955 and was designed to last 50 years. It will be dismantled by the end of 2018.
The current $5 toll on the Tappan Zee will not change until at least 2020. A commission has been established to review toll options for the future. The Village of Tarrytown is also leading a study on whether the ramp on Route 9 that used to take motorists to the bridge should remain closed permanently. The ramp has been blocked off since 2014.
Meanwhile, Cuomo announced that a final design had been selected for the shared-use path connections on the new bridge. The $16 million construction on the path linking Westchester and Rockland is expected to begin in 2017 and wrap up when the new bridge is finalized. At the Westchester end of the shared-use path, a 30-space dedicated parking lot, visitor pavilion and outdoor seating will be provided on Thruway property north of Interstate 87/287. On weekends and during non-work hours, an additional 105 parking spaces will be available to the public.
“We’re looking forward to the opening of the shared-use path and eagerly anticipate that this amenity will provide an enjoyable experience for our residents,” said Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell.