CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBLE DEVELOPMENT is a group which opposes building a new Tappan Zee Bridge.
We are currently faced with a choice between a bridge or a bridge. The process remains stalled over rehabilitation of the current bridge or a new bridge. However, there are sufficient reasons to revisit and review the Department of Transportation’s decision to eliminate the tunnel option.
After almost eight years of planning, countless presentations, huge consulting fees, multi-millions of dollars spent on rehabilitation, we face a new and much larger bridge that will retain and exacerbate many of the problems we currently have:
1. Weather impacts will continue to impede the flow of bridge traffic.
2. Safety issues with cars and trucks sharing the same crossing.
3. Air quality problems and the dangerous impact that vehicle emissions have on the health of corridor residents. Note: Our area has been out of compliance with the Clean Air Act for years and current plans fail to adequately address this problem. Studies in the region repeatedly suggest serious health hazards.
4. Major negative impact on the fragile ecology of the Hudson River.
In addition, with the D.O.T.’s plan to separate bridge construction and transportation, we face the possibility of a massive, multi-decked structure with no assurance of a mass transportation system. We saw a similar situation with the George Washington Bridge; the lower level was built with mass transit in mind, instead, we now have only cars and trucks.
After all this time, some critical questions remain unanswered:
1. What will the elevations and sight lines of the proposed new bridges be?
2. Will the new bridges require an elevated highway approach which could block the views of residents living along this corridor and broadcast car and truck noise even further?
3. What might the new footings look like? Will they have to drill as much as 800 feet to set them in bedrock. This would be massively expensive and could lead to a potential ecological nightmare. The D.O.T. has not explained this feature.
4. What will the landfalls look like and how much additional property will have to be used? The D.O.T. says that they will stay within the Thruway’s rights of way on both sides of the highway. However, that is small comfort for those who live near the road, as they will lose what small buffer zone they now have.
5. How will all this required construction and expansion effect property values in Rockland and Westchester counties?
There is still no indication that there will be funds to build a new bridge. New York’s Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, says NOT! Will Washington be able to help fund this project? With our enormous
debt and the crippling cost of the war, federal money is doubtful. The M.T.A. is responsible for mass transit, and they have been crying poverty for a long time now. Even if they had the funds, the Second Ave Subway and the L.I.R.R. connection to the East Side are priority projects.
Many of these problems could be solved by building tunnels instead of a bridge. Engineering experience world-wide has shown that they cost less, construction time is faster, environmental impacts are minimized, vehicle emissions can be controlled, property taking is not a major factor and maintenance costs are less. Also, the natural beauty of the Hudson River would not be degraded by a gigantic structure. It is for many of these reasons that tunnels are the preferred alternative to river crossings throughout the world.
With the many advantages of tunnels over bridges, it is difficult to understand why this alternative has been dismissed from consideration by the D.O.T. The reasons given have been challenged by professionals and shown to be seriously flawed. These reasons are covered in detail in our May, 2008 Newsletter which is available on request. Also, in previous newsletters and at stakeholder meetings we and others have suggested other scenarios that have never been adequately addressed. They include:
1. Rehabilitation of the current bridge supplemented by two tunnels; one for trucks and one for some form of mass transportation to cross the Hudson. This compromise concept would prolong the life of the TZ Bridge, allow greater auto capacity, reduce toxic emissions from trucks and shield them from adverse weather conditions. Also, it would improve safety and minimize the need for highway expansion.
2. Consideration of a crossing further north where future growth is anticipated. It would serve an expanding population in that area, as well as Stewart Airport, which is expected to be the fourth major airport in the metropolitan area.
We urge all interested and concerned citizens to contact your local representatives and the D.O.T. to discuss with them some of these concerns. Contact the N.Y.S. Department of Transportation as follows:
Michael Anderson, Project Director, N.Y.S. D.O.T. Tel: 914-358-0600
E- mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
George Sherman, President, Rockland Branch,
Sherwood Chorost, President, Westchester Branch
‘€œNever doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.’€ Margaret Mead