An opening date of Sept. 8 for the second span of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge wasn’t the only thing announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sept. 4 when he took reporters on a Hudson River boat ride around the new structures, which also gave them a glimpse of the ongoing demolition work which has removed a majority of the old Tappan Zee Bridge.
The eastbound traffic would be shifted from the northern span to the new southern span in an overnight operation.
The plan all along was for each structure to carry traffic in one direction only between Westchester and Rockland. New York State Thruway Authority acting Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll and Bridge Project Director Jamey Barbas accompanied Cuomo.
Cuomo promised, “This iconic, state-of-the-art twin-span structure will improve traffic flow, support the region’s economy, and is part of New York’s aggressive $100 billion infrastructure plan to sustain growth for generations.”
Cuomo announced that on Oct. 29, Hudson Link bus service will begin with new routes connecting Rockland and the Metro-North Railroad stations in Tarrytown and White Plains. New 45-foot-long buses will be used, featuring amenities such as wireless network service, USB charging stations and bike racks.
Schedules and routing were still being developed. The new bus service will offer multiple payment options, including cash, credit/debit, tickets, and a new mobile application.
The new twin spans are designed to last 100 years without needing major maintenance. The original Tappan Zee Bridge had been planned to last 50 years. The new cable-stayed spans use eight 419-foot towers standing at five-degree angles. Their 192 cables would stretch 14 miles if laid end-to-end.
Cuomo also announced that a competition would be held to commission two sculptures for the bridge by New York state artists. Steel salvaged from the old Tappan Zee Bridge will be made available to the two winning artists to incorporate into their sculptures. One sculpture will go on the Westchester side, the other on the Rockland side. ArtsWestchester and the Arts Council of Rockland will administer the competition. Janet Langsam, CEO of ArtsWestchester in White Plains, issued a statement saying, in part, “Public art, like the bridge, is exciting, engaging and inspirational. It helps create a special sense of connection to place.”
Cuomo and those with him also visited with workmen on the southern span who were doing final construction in preparation for the opening.