- It’s big…lots of old timers say it’s bad…and those huge steel girders that will support the roadway are definitely…blue. The project is called the New NY Bridge but no one — including the President of the United States — thinks that name will stick. The replacement Tappan Zee is the largest current infrastructure project in the country, and according to bridge officials, we are now at the halfway mark of construction.
On Thurs Sept 24, St. Peters College Political Science Professor Philip Mark Plotch comes to the Nyack Library at 7p to share some of the behind-the-scenes stories about how the new Tappan Zee Bridge came to be. In his new book, Politics Across the Hudson: The Tappan Zee Megaproject, Plotch says New York wasted more than three decades trying to finalize plans for reducing congestion along 287, initially focusing on a much larger $16 billion “corridor” project which would have included highway improvements and new mass transit service from Suffern to Port Chester. He says the area’s leaders abandoned other viable options, squandered hundreds of millions of dollars, forfeited more than three billion dollars in federal funds, and missed out on important opportunities to improve the region’s transportation infrastructure.
Plotch, a former manager of planning at the MTA, offers this list of five other things you probably didn’t know about the Tappan Zee Bridge:
- The foundations of the George Washington Bridge and the Bear Mountain Bridge sit on solid bedrock. Most of the three mile-long Tappan Zee Bridge sits on top of soil, shells, and decaying timber, which themselves rest on sand, gravel, and clay.
- You can’t walk over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge or the Whitestone Bridge or the Throgs Neck Bridge. But, starting in 2018, you will be able to walk over the Tappan Zee via a Shared Use Path (SUP) for pedestrians and cyclists. Should you decide to jog the future SUP from Nyack to Tarrytown, it’s the equivalent of running a 5k.
- Although people have frequently claimed that the Tappan Zee Bridge was designed to last only 50 years, it is simply not true.
- To minimize opposition to a new bridge, the Cuomo administration has successfully avoided discussions about how to pay for it. Cuomo is the fourth governor to use that strategy since Governor George Pataki first decided to replace the bridge.
- The Thruway Authority’s leaders have wanted to double the width of the Tappan Zee Bridge since 1973. Their wish will come true in 2018.
Plotch will speak at The Nyack Library in the Community/Meeting Room on Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 7p. Registration is required.
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