Monday, April 1, 2013


     Tunnel to replace Tappan Zee Bridge approach in Rockland County, N.Y. (with disclaimer at end of story)

By Arthur H. Gunther III

     THE NYACKS, N.Y. -- A tunnel will come to the Tappan Zee crossing after all, Albany has announced. Though not the South Nyack-Tarrytown trans-Hudson route long sought by anti-bridge proponents, an underground highway will replace the paved Thruway from the Palisades Center mall in West Nyack to the foot of the soon-to-be-built bridge at South Nyack.
     Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the media Sunday that the tunnel makes sense economically and environmentally since sale of the nearly four miles of land now occupied by the Thruway approach in Rockland -- for mixed development as well as parks and a returned downtown at South Nyack -- would more than pay for the estimated $1 billion tunnel cost. “In the ‘New N.Y.’ magical things can happen,” said the governor.
     As envisioned, the present, deteriorating Thruway roadway, which covers the original 1955 concrete, would be removed, an open trench dug and pre-cast tunnel sections lowered and quickly connected. The new east-west route would be twice as wide as the present, mostly six-lane configuration, thereby allowing for a smoother approach to the also wider replacement bridge. Just as important, room would be allowed for an eventual rail link.
     Air pollution would be controlled by filtration, and there would be no road noise, especially from dieseling trucks, as are now the growing complaints.
     Developers are greeting the news with enthusiasm as much land is to be freed for commercial and residential development, including limited high-rises with Hudson views. The Village of South Nyack is particularly ecstatic since it will obtain free space to redevelop the downtown bulldozed in the original Thruway/bridge construction. The community plans parks and a staging area for the many cyclists expected to cross the new Tappan Zee Bridge. 
     Advocates of a tunnel crossing rather than a new Tappan Zee Bridge from South Nyack to Tarrytown say that while they remain disappointed their idea was consistently met with silence from Albany, they will get half the bargain anyway. Their tunnel concept also had the project beginning at the West Nyack mall.  
     Cuomo said tunnel construction would begin in 2014 on the west-bound route first. As with the new Hudson crossing, this  would be a “design-build” project to facilitate speedier construction and contain costs. About 600 temporary jobs are expected to add to the area economy.
     “Like everything in the ‘New N.Y.,’ the governor said, “The West Nyack to South Nyack tunnel will be a win-win situation, benefiting many.”

     It is hoped that you are one of those readers who follow a piece to its conclusion, Though this story is foolish on April 1, truth is, the tunnel idea is both workable and sensible.

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