The first span of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the 3.1-mile replacement for the aging Tappan Zee Bridge, will open to westbound traffic tonight at 9 p.m.
Four lanes of Rockland-bound traffic will begin crossing the first span late Friday night into Saturday morning. The new $3.98 billion bridge that connects Westchester County to Rockland County is scheduled for a full opening in 2018.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was joined by government and business leaders and area residents at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new span on Aug. 24. “To me, this bridge is more than a structure,” he said. “It’s a symbol.”
The construction project is one of the largest in the nation and the biggest in the history of the New York State Thruway Authority.
The new bridge features eight 419-foot towers that stand at a 5-degree angle and has 192 stay cables that, if laid end to end, would stretch 14 miles. More than 110,000 tons of steel are being used to build the bridge.
Roughly 7,000 workers have contributed to the project to date, according to the state, totaling nearly 9 million work hours.
“The opening of this new span shows the world that we have our energy and our boldness back, that we will continue to accomplish greats things, and that we are building bigger and better than we have in decades,” Cuomo said.
Northbound and westbound drivers on the state Thruway will cross the Hudson River on the new bridge “for the next few months,” though no definite timetable was given. Southbound and eastbound drivers will continue to use the old bridge, Cuomo said. Each will have four traffic lanes available.
Later this fall, the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge will completely replace the 62-year-old Gov. Malcolm Wilson – Tappan Zee Bridge when four lanes of Westchester-bound traffic are also shifted onto the first span.
The new bridge, designed and built by Tappan Zee Constructors LLC, a consortium of four American companies, remains on budget and on schedule, Cuomo said.
“After years of hard work by thousands of dedicated people, we are proud to have traffic on the new bridge for the first time,” said Tappan Zee Constructors President Terry Towle. “In addition to maintaining one of the best safety records in the industry, our team has consistently met tight deadlines under extremely challenging conditions.”
When completed, the 3.1-mile bridge will feature eight general traffic lanes, four breakdown and emergency lanes, space for future bus rapid transit and commuter rail, a bicycle and walking path and viewing areas, cashless tolling and LED lighting.
The state Thruway Authority is the owner of the bridge project.