ALBANY, NY (10/15/2010)(readMedia)-- New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee, New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) Executive Director Michael Fleischer and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Metro-North Railroad (MNR) President Howard Permut today announced that the Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Corridor Project has made significant progress by identifying the bridge, highway and transit options that will be analyzed in more detail in the project's ongoing environmental study. This will lead to publication of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) early next year.
The project's consultants have made recommendations to further narrow the number of bridge configurations and transit options to be analyzed, which in turn helps to expedite the project's DEIS. Therefore, the project team this week briefed the Rockland and Westchester County executives, state and local elected officials, and other stakeholders.
"During these difficult economic times, we must continue to invest in our transportation infrastructure, which is critical to mobility and economic development," NYSDOT Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee said. "The Tappan Zee Bridge and Interstate 287 corridor link the Hudson Valley and beyond. The Tappan Zee project consultants' latest recommendations will help us move forward, ultimately constructing a new, transit-ready bridge across the Hudson River, expanding transportation options and strengthening the economy for us and future generations."
Thruway Authority Executive Director Michael R. Fleischer said, "The Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Corridor Project continues making progress toward constructing a bridge across the Hudson River, capable of transporting our future travelers and customers. Through partnership with our transportation colleagues and outreach to the community, steps have been made to move forward in the 21st century with a transit system that will grow with the region, ease congested highways, and reduce east-west travel times. Meanwhile, the Thruway Authority will continue to ensure safe and efficient travel for the millions of motorists who use the Tappan Zee each year."
Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut said, "Refining the options to be further analyzed in the environmental study now underway is a crucial step in progressing this project. We are closer than ever to a consensus and I'm pleased with the progress made so far on this very complex project, which will affect the region for the next 150 years."
NYSDOT heads a three-agency team that has recommended the complete replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge in the lower Hudson Valley and development of bus rapid transit (BRT) and commuter rail systems (CRT) along the I-287 corridor. The New York State Thruway Authority and MTA Metro-North Railroad are partners in the project. The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration are cooperating with the state in the development of the proposed project's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
"A new Tappan Zee Bridge is vital to the economic growth of Westchester, Rockland, the region and the state," said Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino. "So it is critical for all the stakeholders involved to move forward as quickly as possible. It is welcome news to see progress is being made on the bridge design. But many tough decisions remain and the sooner we start tackling them, the sooner the bridge can start acting as a much needed economic engine."
"We are eager to move forward with the Tappan Zee Bridge Project that will significantly ease transportation issues among commuters and visitors to our area," said Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef. "We will continue to work together to meet the needs of our growing population."
The project consultants -- Earthtech/AECOM, AECOM and Ove ARUP, all of Manhattan -- have recommended narrowing the replacement bridge configurations to be evaluated in detail, as well as the highway and transit options that will be advanced in the DEIS being developed as part of an extensive environmental review of the project.
The recommendations are the result of extensive public outreach and technical analysis of a wide variety of options and project designs. The team is considering bridge and transit alternatives within the 30-mile I-287 corridor between Suffern, Rockland County, and Port Chester, Westchester County, to determine how best to address regional congestion, mobility challenges, and the immediate needs of the Tappan Zee Bridge, which crosses the Hudson River between Westchester and Rockland counties. The bridge also provides access to and from upstate New York and neighboring states to the west and north, including New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
For more information about the Tappan Zee Bridge project, please visit www.tzbsite.com.
# # #