NYS Selects Preferred Plan For Shared-Use Path For New NY Bridge
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the selection of a final design for a bicycle and pedestrian path for the New NY Bridge, which is replacing the Tappan Zee. After a strong push by elected officials and residents on the Rockland County side, the alternative with the least impact was chosen.
Governor Cuomo says the Thruway Authority’s ultimate design selection — dubbed “Alternative F” — was chosen after a review of its impacts and benefits to the local communities. The shared-use path will be on the northern span of the replacement Tappan Zee Bridge. Its end points in South Nyack, in Rockland County, and Tarrytown, in Westchester County, will accommodate bicycle and pedestrian connections and include new parking lots and visitor facilities.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer had pushed for Alternative F. In March, he called on the Federal Highway Administration to grant a federal waiver that would fast track the project, aiming to avoid lengthy reviews and potential delays that could increase costs and stall construction. Cuomo says the Federal Highway Administration, the state Department of Transportation and the Thruway Authority served as co-lead agencies on the Environmental Assessment and collectively determined that “Alternative F” would not result in any significant impacts not previously identified in the project’s Environmental Impact Statement. Here’s Schumer.
“I’m very glad that Governor Cuomo and the state Thruway Authority selected the Plan F because that had the most local support, will do the least to disrupt our communities in South Nycak and throughout the Hudson Valley,” says Schumer. So I asked them to do this and they’ve done it and it’s very good news for our communities. This is the plan that has the greatest community support.”
Bonnie Christian is mayor of the residential neighborhood of South Nyack, and stood with Schumer in March, supporting his call for expediting approval of Alternative F.
“And this is the one that keeps all the parking and traffic off of our local streets and puts everything on Interchange 10 where it should be,” says Christian.
The plan also calls for permanently closing the on-ramp to the southbound Thruway from South Broadway.
“I think people were concerned a little bit that we were closing the whole entrance. We’re not. We’re just rerouting it onto US9W and keeping it off our local streets,” Christian says.
The Rockland County end of the shared-use path will include a 54-space parking lot and comfort station within the southeastern section of Interchange 10 in South Nyack. Drivers will access the parking lot from Route 9W. On the Westchester side, in Tarrytown, the shared-use plan involves all Thruway Authority property. There will be a 30-space parking lot, visitor pavilion and outdoor seating. Construction on the path is expected to begin in 2017, and is slated to open concurrent with the completion of the 3-mile twin-span New NY Bridge in 2018. The cost to implement Alternative F is about $16 million.
Meanwhile, the New NY Bridge team hosted two public meetings — one in Westchester June 14 and one in Rockland June 15. Those who attended saw a video that included Cuomo’s voice:
“When you go past now, you see that bridge coming out of the water and going across the river. It is a beautiful thing to see because it’s not just about the Tappan Zee Bridge. When I see that bridge, you know what it says? Yes we can.”
The video also talks about how workers across the East Coast prepare large sections of the $3.98 billion bridge that are then shipped to the project site. Most of the materials are organized and assembled in New York, such as in Tompkins Cove in Rockland County and in the Port of Coeymens in Albany County. Terry Towle is president of Tappan Zee Constructors.
“The Port of Coeymens is also supporting the staging and delivery of other critical bridge components including the bearings, thousands of pre-cast deck panels, and electrical and mechanical systems,” says Towle. “So although the port is over 100 miles from our new bridge, it plays a key piece of the puzzle the largest bridge in the state of New York.”
The project is moving forward with the next section of the bridge, the new roadway, to consist of more than 6,000 interlocking concrete panels. And crews are working 24/7 on the main span towers. Noise-reducing barriers are under construction as are facilities for bridge maintenance teams and local state troopers. 138,000 cars travel the Tappan Zee Bridge per day.