Archive for the ‘Westchester County’ Category

Schools were closed when the new bridge opened

The Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge opened Dec. 1955/The Virtual Archives

Besides having a clear day for the Historical Society of Rockland County’s river tour last week, I had the pleasure of sitting at a table with several people who are working on the new bridge.

They preferred I not mention their names. I agreed to respect their privacy and asked about their responsibilities and how they felt about working on the project and seeing it from this perspective.

One gentleman told me his father was an ironworker on the original Tappan Zee Bridge and said his son and grandsons are employed on the current project. “Four generations working on the bridge,” he smiled.

He lived in Piermont in 1955 and remembers walking across the new structure when it opened. “The governor drove across the bridge, and I didn’t have to go to school that day. Everybody was walking across the new bridge, and schools were closed.”

Detailed bridge update and photos are in this week’s Rockland County Times.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

Road Trip includes Glimpses of NNYB Progress

What’s a trip north without checking out the replacement for the bridge I shall miss? Yes, I admit it. Since it was Sunday, and there was no traffic, I had a chance to see foundations for the new maintenance facility at the Westchester landing. Did I mention there was no traffic?

I also got another look at the scaffolding climbed by one adventurous project official. Remember, the stairs begin above the crossover bridge and are outside one of the 419-foot tall main span towers. Click the photo enlarge it, and then click the magnifier for an up-close view of what it’s like to climb up the tower.

Cloudy skies on the way were foreboding and very different from a similar trip last April; they made a pretty picture, almost like a painting on canvas. While the day was overcast, last weekend’s skies were clear and beautiful when Flying Films NY traveled to the project site for these aerial views.

Stay safe this Memorial Day and remember to show gratitude and be thankful.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

Exit to Exit: a Whole Lotta Traffic In-between

You can see traffic slogging along westbound per EarthCam® camera at Westch. landing

Memorial Day Weekend. The. Westbound. Span. Should. Have. Been. Opened.

Woulda, shoulda, coulda says nothing about the fact that it hasn’t and isn’t.

During a late afternoon drove to Rockland for copies of this week’s Rockland County Times, which has my story about a woman who advocates for senior housing and safety at home, I got stuck in traffic.

I’m home waiting for a FedEx delivery that requires a signature so I’ll tell you about yesterday’s driving experience.

Silly me. It’s a holiday weekend, and the vehicular madness was well underway by the time I merged onto crowded, no, packed, 287 from the Sprain. Inching from Exit 2 to Exit 1 was a challenge; once on the Thruway, it took about 20 minutes to drive from Exit 9 (Tarrytown) to Exit 10 (South Nyack).

I miss Ramp E, the South Broadway (Route 9) entrance ramp to the bridge in Tarrytown. I really miss it when I’m in that area and have to travel west as its absence continues to cause traffic nightmares.

In its place the state is building a new facility, which drivers and I saw from the other side:

It’s ironic that the new bridge will change nothing about congestion choking 287 on its own and as arteries, like Westchester Avenue and the Sprain, merge onto it. This new bridge will offer cars and trucks — they NEED to be in their own lane! — an easy, breezy 3.1 miles of travel until bridge meets land, and the madness continues in Rockland.

What gives? The westbound span was set to open last December 2016, then in early 2017. Somewhere, sometime, project officials starting saying the bridge, shared use path (including in South Nyack), maintenance facility and new state police barracks will open in 2018.

When the super crane arrived at the project site in October 2014, Governor Cuomo held a press conference and was asked about potential tolls.

“We don’t know how much we will we get from the federal government, how much we will get from the state; there are state loans and grants we can access,” he said, citing the variables. Additional unknowns are the built-in contract incentives for Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) to finish the project before spring 2018 or penalties for completing it later.

Spring 2018 is 12 months from now, which is nearly summer if you consider it’s Memorial Day Weekend and an unofficial start of summer.

So crews need to finish the whole shebang before June 21, 2018, the real start of summer. Will the bridge builder be penalized for finishing the project one day later? Stay tuned.

It’s too bad New York State made this into a bridge project instead of sticking to a corridor project. The 287 construction was finished nine months ahead of schedule, and I’m sure (though I don’t remember) traffic “flowing smoothly” four or five years ago.

Several people working on the project told me it would be impossible to widen 287. What was the point of building a bridge between two congested highways without considering the motorists who use them?

I covered the Mass Transit Task Force meetings, where this exchange took place during the final get-together:

“Who will take the initiative to make sure the recommendations will move forward?” State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (88th District) asked. State DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald replied, “Our charge was to make recommendations. It’s up to the governor and the Thruway Authority to see what are the next steps.”

The governor said on January 29, 2013 — 11 days after the bridge builder received the A-OK to begin — that completion of 287’s reconstruction and the bridge project represent how his administration cut through government dysfunction. It’s all well and good to have plans; however, as my mom’s cousin Helen used to say, “You have to look down the road a piece.”

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

Here’s what happened three years ago ’bout now

I’ve tried to see the crane that’s now poised on the other side of the bridge; it’s not that easy. Photo courtesy of New York State Thruway Authority.

A little flashback to May 2014 . . .

The White House’s four-year, $302 billion transportation bill would reverse a longstanding prohibition — under Title 23 of the United States Code (Highways) — on interstate tolling.

Driving eastbound on the inside lane to better see the project site/© Janie Rosman 2014

Driving eastbound on the inside lane to better see the project site/© Janie Rosman 2014

President Barack Obama will be in Tarrytown Wednesday to talk money: his administration would direct approximately $150 billion into infrastructure programs, roads and bridges, as well as funds from fuel taxes.

Against a Tappan Zee Bridge backdrop, the president will highlight the urgency of replenishing the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Authorization for the Department of Transportation to spend on highway, bridge, and transit projects expires on September 30, 2014.

Due here in June/Courtesy Team Outreach

Due here in June/Courtesy Team Outreach

As the New NY Bridge project continues, the I Lift NY is currently being readied in New Jersey, and is due at the site next month. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s monumental undertaking was approved last December for that hefty $1.6 billion TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) loan.

For up-to-date information about this week’s related detours and lane closures, click here.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

Naming Contest for Soon-to-Arrive Falcon Chicks

Word has it that little eyases will be hatched & need names/Photo courtesy of EarthCam®

One of the fascinating parts of covering this project includes writing about what makes this bridge different from the others: its resident falcons.

Jacob Tanenbaum’s 3rd-grade class at Cottage Lane Elementary School in Blauvelt is studying climate change that includes a discussion about what they can do to lessen the problem. Peregrine falcons — like those living atop the Tappan Zee Bridge — were among raptors affected by the pesticide DDT 50 and 60 years ago.

“Talking about how we stopped using DDT gives the kids hope that they can effect change in the future,” Tanenbaum emphasized.

This will be the last year mama falcon hatches her eyases (chicks) on the current bridge. She’s due soon and will hatch next season’s eggs on one of the westbound span’s towers.

Thus, the project team — keeping keen eyes on all that happens, including high above the river in a nest box on the Tappan Zee Bridge — said it’s time for another falcon naming contest!

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

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