STORY AND PHOTOS BY JANIE ROSMAN
“The state has in fact decided to relocate the bike/pedestrian path in Rockland away from the corner of South Broadway and Cornelison,” Special Project Advisor Brian Conybeare told the audience, which responded with applause.
Conybeare thanked South Nyack Mayor Bonnie Christian and the South Nyack task force for working with the bridge project team and the Thruway’s new leadership. South Nyack received a $250,000 grant through the bridge project’s Community Benefits Program to study the feasibility of redesigning and redeveloping Interchange 10.
It’s been a trying year for Christian, who was determined to have the state move the landing. Thruway Acting Executive Director Robert L. Megna thanked the village for starting a partnership during his first three and one-half months in the job and for a chance to rebuild its relationship with South Nyack.
“Nice work on the part of all who worked so hard to get to a satisfying and smart resolution,” Nyack Mayor Jen Laird White said. The village has offered to lend a hand with parking overflow.
Project officials report 96 percent of the design and 38 percent of all construction are complete. With Phase 1 (everything except the Westchester and Rockland landings) completed, “Phase 2 will be in 2017 when the landings of the old bridge will be torn down,” Conybeare said.
Another round of applause greeted Conybeare’s announcement that crews are almost done (94 percent complete) with Phase 1 pile driving. “This summer, you’ll get a break from pile driving until Phase 2, which is in 2017,” and one-quarter of the amount in Phase 1.
One resident asked how the new bridge will help the flow of traffic given the highway won’t be widened. It meets the Thruway’s four lanes in both counties it becomes three lanes at the I-87/I-287 split in Westchester and near Exit 11 in Rockland.
“It certainly is an issue here in Rockland (that) when you get off the bridge you go from four lanes to four lanes, and it goes down to three lanes near Exit 11,” Conybeare said. “We’re absolutely aware of that, the Thruway Authority and the DMV are looking at potential solutions for that. It’s not part of this project.”
A highlight was the April placement of the first of the new bridge’s 59 pier caps near Tarrytown.
At the Tappan Zee Constructor, LLC (TZC) offsite assembly facility at Tompkins Cove, crews are putting together rebar and concrete form work, and at the Port of Coeymans near Albany, crews are assembling steel girders. “In the next month or so, you’ll see the first steel girders — 12 feet tall, 400 feet long, weighing 600 tons — barged in to be placed on the project,” he said.
This fall crews will start building the towers with help from towers cranes. “Then they’ll put prefabricated sections of the road deck in to sit on top of the girders (followed by) 14 miles of cables strung down to support the road deck of the main span,” a process that be completed in about two years.
New wayfaring signs directing visitors to Tarrytown Center and the viewing area at RiverWalk Park were posted recently. Nyack will have similar blue-and-white markers and a sign map when the Memorial Park fishing pier is finished, possibly next month.
As the school term ends so does Educational Outreach’s “Year 2: A Solid Foundation” presentations to more than 102 schools. The plan is to begin “Year 3: Many Working Together” in the fall when school resumes.
One of the numerous webcams is a bird’s-eye view of the Peregrine falcon nest. Three chicks (eyases) were born in April, and project officials are holding a Name-the-Falcons poll through May 27. Names that garner the most votes will be announced next month, and the schools that suggested the winning names will be recognized.
Project officials reported 5,847 visitors since both Outreach Centers opened: 2,423 in Tarrytown, and 3,434 in Nyack. Displays including informational panels and mannequins dressed in safety gear are at 142 Main St., Nyack, and 2 N. Broadway, Tarrytown.
Last week the Thruway Authority Board approved a $1.9 billion spending plan that closes a gap identified in the original 2015 budget approved last December. It includes more than $22 million in spending cuts, nearly $44 million in reduced debt service costs and includes no toll increases for any part of the Thruway system.
An estimated $750 million of the $1.285 million in bank settlement funds will go toward the bridge project. The Thruway Authority’s modified 2015 budget addresses this year’s higher-than-expected winter-related costs and gives addition support to statewide capital projects. Its fiscal year is January 1 through December 31.
What will the new structure be named?
“We’re focused on building a bridge,” Conybeare said. “There’s been no talk internally about changing the name.” Any decision will be voted on by the State Legislature.