Bridge of Grand Ambitions Is Set to Open at the Tappan Zee, New York
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. — After two decades of dithering by government officials and four years of herculean drilling, pounding, hauling and lifting by 7,000 workers, a new 3.1-mile bridge is set to open at the Tappan Zee in the early hours of Saturday, the first crossing on that scale that has been built in the New York region in more than half a century.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who set the $4 billion project in motion after previous administrations had hemmed and hawed about whether to pay for continued repairs on the deteriorating Tappan Zee Bridge or to undertake an expensive replacement, stood Wednesday on the helm of a tugboat packed with reporters and photographers. He looked upon the structure’s 40-story sloping concrete towers and a cat’s cradle of cables with the smile of a 10-year-old who had just finished a model airplane.
“We’ve been through this every day, but to see it in reality, it takes my breath away,” he said.
By a new state law, the replacement bridge, until recently known as the New NY Bridge, is named after the governor’s father, Mario M. Cuomo, who was governor for three terms and died on New Year’s Day in 2015. But names awarded by politicians to existing structures don’t always stick. (Ask champions of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel and the Joe DiMaggio Highway.)
The new bridge is a sleek two-span cable-stayed design, with the cables holding up its steel decks anchored to the tops of the angled central towers rather than to the shore, and its striking look stands in contrast to the shabby erector set of the old Tappan Zee. The new bridge, like its predecessor, will stand at one of the widest points of the Hudson, its location determined by political considerations: Anything built within 25 miles of the Statue of Liberty would be controlled by the Port Authority, governed by both New York and New Jersey; the Tappan Zee, just outside the zone, is controlled completely by New York.
The new bridge at the Tappan Zee, scheduled to open Saturday, is the first of such scale in the New York area since the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge linked Brooklyn and Staten Island in 1964.
CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times