Archive for the ‘Governor Andrew Cuomo’ Tag

Longer wait: first span set to open in Fall 2017

Rendering of new Tappan Zee Bridge is courtesy of New York State Thruway Authority

What happened to late 2016, then early 2017 and then spring/summer 2017?

This is what I saw two days ago, when I stood at the doorway and looked out the window on the other side of the room. The view was probably 100 times better right in front of window; however, I stayed where I was because the woman who lives in that room wasn’t there.

I asked her later if I could view the bridge from her window, and she smiled. “What are they going to do about all that traffic?” she asked. I didn’t ask again.

Tarrytown Hall Care Center is where Tarrytown Hospital once stood, Assistant Administrator Amanda MacConnell LMSW told me during a tour of the facility.

Third floor rooms and its large day room offer clear views of the bridge project.

A few people there ask when will it be finished and how will it help the traffic in Westchester and Rockland. Word has it that the span will open in the fall. What happened to Governor Cuomo’s talk about additional unknowns: the built-in contract incentives for finishing the project before spring 2018 or penalties for completing it later?

Cuomo’s comment was during an October 2014 press conference: when asked about the task force he proposed in 2012 to address this, he cited variables.

“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. 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.

“Once you have those numbers, then you can come up with a plan about how to do it, what commuters should pay, on-hour, off-hour, etc.,” he said.

Higher than they are now seems about right.

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

Throwback Thursday: Then to Later to Now

Side by side are current bridge and new main span towers alight in the river/© H. Jackson

Side by side are current bridge and new main span towers alight in the river/© H. Jackson

So much awesomeness — it’s not a word; I’m taking editorial liberties — on this project to sort through this year. Two articles in Rivertown Magazine (July and December issues) covered activities through November with a look-see for coming months; here are some notable events from 2016 and earlier.

The first main span crossbeam was set in place, consultants hired by South Nyack presented plans for redeveloping land near Exit 10, the 1,000th road deck panel was placed, the bridge builder was recognized for its excellent safety record, one of the cranes collapsed mid-summer, and the first stay cables were installed days later.

scouting for POTUS visit

Watching the police scout the area with dogs prior to President Obama’s arrival (May 2014) was fascinating . . and then I heard the president’s voice via microphone at Sunset Cove Restaurant.

When the Secret Service asked us to place our belongings in a line and then step back, I forgot I’d left my pocketbook open after putting my ID into my wallet and placing that into my pocketbook. Too late. “Step back!” the agent barked at me as dogs began sniffing our cameras, bags, backpacks, etc.

The super crane arrived here — and Governor Cuomo welcomed it — that fall; two calendar turns later the project reached another milestone: the towers were completed.

Spring after the project started: “Figure Sitting at RiverWalk Park”/© J. Rosman 2013

Few thought the bridge would reach 60; it won’t see a 62nd year. With the eight towers complete, the self-climbing forms being removed, stay cables being added and space lessening between the westbound main span and the Westchester and Rockland approach spans, its days are numbered.

During the ride to to Nyack last week for copies of the December issue I told mom to watch for a sign to her right. I saw it and pointed, and she giggled. It remains to be seen if it will have a place on the new bridge, and if so, then where?

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

Infrastructure & New York State: the TZB Now

Governor Andrew Cuomo fielding reporters’ questions on new bridge/© J Rosman 2016

We stepped back and walked to orange cones on the northern side of the span, where Governor Coumo would answer reporters’ questions.

I wanted to ask the governor if he planned to invite President-elect Trump to the project site, especially since Trump bemoaned U.S. infrastructure at an October 14, 2015, rally in Richmond, Virginia.

“We’re like a Third World country,” he said. “Our airports, our roads, our bridges are falling down. Sixty-one percent of our bridges are in trouble. Do you believe this? We drive over a bridge, it’s in trouble.”

Although I never had a chance to pose my question it was partly answered in response to another reporter’s question. Cuomo also discussed the topic with businessman and former NYC mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis on the CATS Roundtable (AM 970) last weekend.

westbound-span

“Governor, New Yorkers have the most powerful man in the United States Senate, Chuck Schumer, and we have the President of the United States in Washington,” Catsimatidis said. “Can the two of them help New York State? Have you talked to them about a commitment about getting federal funds like Roosevelt got for Robert Moses?”

“I spoke to President-elect Trump to congratulate him after he was elected and one of the first things he went to was infrastructure because he’s a builder, and his point was we don’t build anymore,” Cuomo said. “He (Trump) pointed out that we do build in New York and he’s coming up with a big infrastructure program.”

“We have $100 billion,” he said. ” The largest commitment in modern political history for infrastructure, et cetera. Airports all over the state. Roads and bridges all over the state. The trick now is making it happen, getting it done. And that’s a new task for government.”

tappan-zee-from-here

Three years ago this month Trump said he could fix the aging Tappan Zee Bridge “for peanuts”, and “The $4 billion will end up turning out to be $10 billion, and the state will never be able to afford it.”

His words came days after then-Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison closed a deal with the U.S. Department of Transportation for an historic $1.6 billion Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for the new bridge.

Nearly $700 million more than anticipated and the largest low-interest (3.89 percent) loan in TIFIA history, it was a major coup for the bridge project. Did Trump know Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) was also nearing the end of its first year on the 62-month assignment?

I’m sure President-elect Trump has since changed his mind about the bridge project, which reached another milestone this week. I wonder if he will be awed by it as I was and hope he continues to support New York State’s infrastructure initiatives.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

More about the Morning on the Westbound Span

smile

The bus was nicely heated, and my seat number was 10, indicated above the window. The 10th was when my dad visited me in a dream. Coincidence? I felt he was with me in spirit as I wore his yellow V-neck sweater, one of several layers to keep me warm in the elements.

I thought about his sweater during the Q & A with Governor Andrew Cuomo after he, Project Director Jamey Barbas, Congresswoman Nita Lowey spoke. The governor touched a pin affixed to his tie that belonged to his dad, the late Governor Mario Cuomo, and said he was there with him in spirit.

expansion-joints

“These are expansion joints. See how you can’t just walk through the full bridge?” Thruway Authority Director of Media Relations and Communications Jennifer Givner said, pointing to metal pieces between the concrete.

We were on the Westchester approach of the new westbound span. “That rebar is installed for the guard rails,” Givner said, indicating them. “Many of them have been poured (with cement).”

span

The bus rolled slowly over another expansion joint, and she indicated the incomplete eastbound span to the left. It will be finished and connected to the landings when the current bridge is dismantled.

“The deck panels are the base of the driving surface,” Givner said. They’ll be covered with a one-inch polymer overlay: it’s durable, and that will be the final driving surface and will have lane markings.

safety-turnaround

We passed one of the three emergency turnarounds; the other two are on the Rockland side and will help first responders quickly access accidents and can be used to reroute traffic when necessary.

* * * * *

No one else looked cold. About 15 minutes after arriving (and outside on the span) I’d returned to the bus to deposit my scarf and hat. Big mistake. The governor didn’t look cold except his nose was red.

* * * * *

Thank you to a LinkedIn connection who works on the project and, seeing me, came over to introduce himself. I’m glad he did and that we talked for a few minutes.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

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