Safer Alternative to Tappan Zee Bridge Approved

All systems are go for construction of a “safer and less congested” span to replace the aging, seven-lane Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River.

The $3.1 billion design, which features two parallel spans, will take five years to build but will be mass transit ready. The contract was awarded to Tappan Zee Constructors; one of the partners, American Bridge Company, built the original Tappan Zee Bridge. The team is led by Fluor Enterprises.

The New York State Thruway Authority, which owns the old bridge, voted on December 17, 2012 to select the final design from among three possibilities. Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino said after the vote, “The selection of the proposal by Tappan Zee Constructors delivers on three critical fronts: cost, completion time and mass transit readiness to carry express buses on day one. And after so many years of gridlock, building a safer and less congested bridge as soon as possible is the most attractive option for Westchester. I thank the Governor and his team for their thorough review and for the appointment of the mass transit task force that will identify short-, medium- and long-term transit solutions for the new bridge and the I-287 corridor.”

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The current bridge has no shoulders or breakdown lanes. Meanwhile, some 138,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily, and in the last decade the state has spent more than $750 million on maintenance and repairs. The new bridge will have eight lanes plus paths for cyclists and pedestrians and is built to last 100 years.

Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester, called the Thruway Authority’s vote in December “great news for the families and businesses of Westchester County. Not only does this proposal offer the lowest price for our toll payers, but it also means tens of thousands of new jobs for our families. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, this project is finally becoming a reality and giving our region’s economy a critical boost.” 

In the fall of 2011, the project was included among 14 chosen by President Barrack Obama’s administration for an expedited federal review and approval process. In August 2012, Astorino joined Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in signing a letter of intent to apply for federal funding.

The Westchester Coalition for Business Development had advocated for the bridge, and the organization’s president, Tim Jones, was present at the signing of the letter in August. “As a local advocacy group, we were very active in education about and advocacy for the bridge,” Jones says. “It’s an enormous positive for this region.”

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