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Less Disruptive Construction Plans for Tappan Zee


Tappan Zee Bridge

The spring and summer months remind us of what a nuisance infrastructure construction can be.   A report was released on August 1st regarding the Tappan Zee Bridge rebuild, it included information on what efforts will be made to reduce the effects of the project for both human and animal residents.  An environmental impact statement was released in January stating that the bridge will have no major, lasting environmental effects; local residents still have their own concerns. 

The August 1st report calls for demolition of the current Tappan Zee bridge, which is a let down to many residents who were rallying to have the bridge turned into a “car-free greenway” like Manhattan’s High Line.  Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner points out the taxpayer dollars that could be saved if “we could turn the old bridge into a world class destination park.”  Another disappointment to locals is the decision not to include rapid transit systems to the rebuild plans.  Although the bridge will be built strong enough to support the extra weight, the extra cost of adding just a bus rapid transit system would double the cost, and a commuter train line would cost billions more.

Make It A Park

Despite the things not being done, local residents can rest assured that there will be measures taken to make the construction conditions more predictable.  Noise and particulate levels will be displayed online as well as on monitors throughout the area.  

Also, Governor Cuomo said they are “making every effort to limit negative impacts on residents and the environment.”  Fish in the Hudson will be protected from pile driving underwater by “bubble curtains”, and dredging will be limited to August, September, and October to avoid peak migration and spawning. 

Construction on the current Tappan Zee bridge started in March 1952 and opened for traffic on December 15, 1955, along with a 27 mile long section of the New York State Thruway from Suffern to Yonkers.  It is the longest bridge in the State of New York with a total length approaching 16,013 feet, a cantilever span of 1,212 feet providing a maximum clearance of 138 feet over the water.  In 2009, the Tappan Zee Bridge was featured on The History Channel "The Crumbling of America" showing the infrastructure crisis in the United States.

Tappan Zee Map

Construction is expected to begin late this year or early next year, lasting about five years projected to be completed in 2017.  The new passage between Terrytown and Nyack will have more lanes as well as shoulders to accomodate break downs, and high speed toll lanes.  The steep climb over the Hudson River will be replaced with a more gradual hill, mkaing it easier for trucks to maintain their speed.

Nearly 60 years after it was created the iconic Tappan Zee bridge is being reinvented in order to keep up with the wants and needs of today's every changing world and society.



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