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State Releases Tappan Zee Bridge Draft Study

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – A draft environmental impact study of the new Tappan Zee Bridge rejects the idea of rehabilitating the bridge for transportation purposes, saying it “would fail to meet the project goal of ensuring the long-term viability of the Tappan Zee Hudson River crossing.”

Transportation officials released a draft study Tuesday evening. Public hearings on the study will take place in Rockland County on Feb. 28 at the Palisades Center and in Westchester County on March 1 at the Westchester Marriott from 4 to 9 p.m.

The Thruway Authority will accept comments on the draft study until March 15.

“New York has spent a decade talking, studying and meeting about how to replace this vital bridge," Commissioner Joan McDonald said in a statement while praising the expedition of the bridge project. “Now that we understand the environmental effects of reconstructing the bridge, it is time to start laying out real construction plans."

Although officials could redesign the existing bridge to comply with seismic criteria, the study said it would lack ductility and be vulnerable during prolonged earthquakes. The single span would also mean the bridge would lack “service redundancy” and offer no alternative routing if the bridge were to close for serious repairs.

Rehabilitating the existing bridge would only give it a 50-year lifespan instead of the desired 100-year lifespan, the study said. Construction for rehabilitation would also take longer and cost $2.5 to $2.7 billion more than building a new bridge.

The draft study said a Westchester staging area for the bridge construction would be set up where the current Thruway Authority's maintenance facility and the New York State Police barracks sit north of the interstate. Other staging areas will be located in Rockland County.

Under the proposed construction, the study lists several “unavoidable impacts” to both sides of the Hudson.

In Rockland County, residents in several properties along the bridge landing would need to be displaced to make room for the new landing. Two historic structures in the South Nyack Historic District, 21 Cornelison and 78 Smith Avenue, would also need to be demolished, the report said.

The study also said the current bridge would need to be removed.

In Westchester, new bridge structures will need to extend approximately 100 feet to the north and south of the current bridge.

Environmental impacts would include disturbing the river bottom habitat, and in particular an oyster habitat, the study said. However, according to the study, such habitats would be restored after construction and that “these wetland impacts would not be adverse.”

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