Tappan Zee Bridge
TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE: Rehabilitation or Replacement?
The studies of the Tappan Zee Bridge and the I-287 Corridor started with a long term analysis (April 2000). The 3.1 mile bridge was constructed in 1955 and does not meet current bridge and highway standards, such as lane width, shoulders and emergency lanes and engineering standards, such as seismic and security. The bridge has aged and is undergoing extensive repairs. In 1955 it carried 18,000 vehicles daily: today the average is 135,000. The 30 mile corridor runs from Suffern in Rockland to Port Chester in Westchester.
A scoping update report was prepared jointly by the Thruway Authority, NYS Department of transportation and the Metro-North Railroad in February 2008. A range of alternatives were proposed including a no built alternative which is consistent with NEPA and SEQRA requirements. However, the report states that the no-built alternative would not meet the goals and objectives established for the project.
The public transportation proposals in the scoping report, accompanying the bridge rebuilt or rehabilitation, are:
- Bus Rapid Transit BRT- a limited stop rapid bus service that operates on an exclusive busway (barrier separated), HOV lanes and exclusive bus lanes (other authorized vehicles can enter). BRT routes are generally along a main trunk line with service every 5 to 10 minutes during peak periods. Stations are similar to rail stations, level boarding, multiple doors, transit signal priority and convenient fare collection.
- Commuter Rail Transit CRT trains are powered by diesel or electricity; same as theHarlem or Hudson lines.
- Light Rail Transit LRT operate along a grade separated fixed rail right-of–way or in a street right-of-way adjacent to or shared with traffic. Single or multiple car trains with station or street level boarding.
Air quality, both Westchester and Rockland are in non-attainment for particulate matter and ozone. Westchester is considered a maintenance area for carbon monoxide (CO). Analysis should be conducted to determine how project alternatives impact air quality. Other concerns are noise, Hudson River ecosystems, water resources and habitats, visual resources and aesthetics, energy, geology and soil and hazardous materials.
Structural defects: the report lists only seismic, lane widths and shoulders. Earlier reports refer to structural defects at the foundation at the western end. We need to be certain that an upgrade of the old bridge is fundamentally sound. Improving air quality by reducing traffic through better transportation modes should also be a goal.
BRT service from Suffern to Port Chester because it is easier to install, more flexible and more easily adopted to future traffic requirements. A one-seat CRT ride from Suffern to Grand Central if it can be proven that there are enough riders after alternative CRT rides through New Jersey are built.
To improve air quality and reduce global warming by making it more attractive to use public transportation.
Our position is shared by the Sierra Club New York City and Ramapo-Catskill Groups and endorsed by the Atlantic Chapter, representing New York State.