Those hoping to be the first to cross the Tappan Zee Bridge as the first span opens on late Friday night might be beaten to the punch by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, or a local elected official.
Cuomo announced on Monday he plans to hold a special ceremony to celebrate the opening of the first span of the new bridge for Rockland-bound traffic at 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, according to USA Today Network's Albany Bureau.
The actual traffic shift from the north side of the current bridge, from Westchester to Rockland counties, will not take place until late Friday, Aug. 25 or during the early hours of Saturday morning, said Khurram Saeed, director of Communications for the bridge project.
According to Saeed, beginning Saturday morning, southbound/eastbound traffic will use four lanes on the old (Tappan Zee) bridge. A moveable concrete barrier and/or orange construction barrels will separate traffic from three retired lanes, which will still be a construction work zone.
Here are details about Friday night’s traffic shift (the rain date is Saturday, Aug. 26):
- Multiple lane closures will begin sometime after 9 p.m. Friday. At least one Rockland-bound lane will remain open except when New York State Police stop and hold traffic early Saturday morning.
- The northbound/westbound Thruway exit 9 (Tarrytown – Sleepy Hollow – US Route 9) on-ramp from Route 119 will be closed at approximately 9 p.m. Drivers will be detoured one mile east on Route 119 to access the northbound Thruway. The on-ramp is scheduled to reopen by 6 a.m. Saturday. The exit 9 off-ramp to Route 119 will remain accessible from the northbound Thruway, officials said.
- The operation will also necessitate closing the southbound Exit 10 (Nyack – South Nyack – US Route 9W) off-ramp at 9 p.m. The off-ramp is scheduled to reopen by 6 a.m. Saturday.
- Between midnight and 5 a.m. Saturday, there will be two traffic stops, each lasting up to 20 minutes, of all four lanes of the northbound/westbound Thruway. The traffic stops will allow Thruway Authority and Tappan Zee Constructors workers to stage operations, stripe lanes at both ends of the bridge and shift barriers and equipment, the Thruway Authority said.
- To ensure the public’s safety, New York State Police will stop and hold all traffic. The first traffic stop will take place near Exit 9 in Tarrytown. A second traffic stop will occur a few hours later near Exit 10 in South Nyack.
- Four northbound/westbound lanes on the new bridge and four southbound/eastbound lanes on the old bridge are scheduled to be open to traffic no later than 8 a.m. Saturday.
- Variable Message Signs along the Thruway and other highways in the region have been activated to inform motorists of the traffic shift.
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