(New York, NY --WNYC Newsroom) The new Tappan Zee Bridge would open by 2017, be built to last more than 100 years and would include space that — one day — could be used for mass transit to cross, according to a new planning document.
The Federal Highway Administration and the New York State Department of Transportation released the planning document, called "Scoping Information Packet," in advance of public presentations scheduled this week on the project.
The existing span is overcrowded and deteriorating after 56 years of use. Earlier this month, the Obama administration helped jump-start replacement plans for the Tappan Zee Bridge, declaring it eligible for fast-tracked federal approvals.
However, one aspect of the proposal will not be going forward, at least not yet. The mass transit aspects of the new bridge were dropped, which helped trim the cost to $5.2 billion from as much as $21 billion. The document only talks of future mass transit.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino thinks that leaving mass transit off the current design is short-sighted. "I am troubled by the proposed design's absence of a mass transit component that would help alleviate congestion," he said. "A new bridge — without a mass transit component — would already be at capacity on the day of its opening."
The plan calls for two separate four-lane spans, separated by a 42-foot gap — which is where a future mass transit component could be included. It would be built just north of the current bridge.
With the Associated Press