Archive for the ‘New York State Thruway’ Tag

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

Paving the Way for New Maintenance Facility

While there’s no more door — at least not that door — there are, however, formwork and walls for the new maintenance facility being built in Tarrytown.

Start of the Thruway Authority facility at the Westchester shared use path landing/NYSTA

This time last year the toll plaza in Tarrytown was demolished, and traffic methodically shifted lanes during the transition until cashless tolling began.

Only a few days remain until the electronic toll gantry is activated/© Janie Rosman 2016

And while fares have increased significantly in the past 50-plus years, through 2020 they’ll remain at status quo: cars pay $5 cash, $4.75 with E-ZPass®, and commuters pay $3 (20-trip booklet for $60).

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

TBT: Looking Back at Earlier Project Photos

What are those things floating in the river? Debris? No, those are piles, and the story that day (June 2014 media tour) was pile cleansing: scooping out the muck prior to filling them with concrete and rebar (reinforced steel).

Did you notice the super crane is on the south side of the bridge? It had recently arrived at the project site, where crews waited for low tide a few days later before limbo-ing it under the current bridge.

Blue jump forms will help build the main span’s 419-foot towers./Photo: NYSTA

Oh my, how tiny it looks at ground level. This is from early September 2015, when crews began building those now-419-foot tall towers using self-climbing jump forms. Are those cartoon heads in the red truck?

Here’s a memory from days gone by, when tolls were 50 cents each way. One-way collection was adopted August 12, 1970, and toll booths on the northbound lanes were removed.

And guess what? We made it through the Ides of March. Ha!

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

Counting down to the westbound span opening

new-and-old

Early yesterday I had part of the bridge — from the Westchester approach until the start of the main span — to myself. NO cars, trucks, vans, nothing. So I slowed a little bit (making sure no one was behind me) and snapped.

If the bridge could talk, then here’s what it would say:

Yesterday I felt tired and a little sad. I mean, wouldn’t you? Imagine watching them train your replacement at work because they’re letting you go: I’m only here until they finish the first span.

There are others my age and older who are around longer than I — the Bear Mountain Bridge (1924), the Mid-Hudson Bridge (1930) and the Rip Van Winkle Bridge (1935) come to mind — yet they’re replacing me.

True, I’m a three-miler; however, think about it. Was this the best place to build me? Some think not — the topic lends itself to controversy — yet here they chose.

main-span

The new bridge next to me is much taller than I am, which doesn’t diminish me. I have history here and stories to tell, and I bet you didn’t know I’ve kept secrets, too. Even with four lanes in each direction it’ll be a not-so-nice surprise when people realize there will still be three highway lanes leading to and from in Rockland. We’ll see how they plan for traffic in Westchester.

It also means positive changes to both counties, especially to South Nyack, and parts of me will be used for other construction projects.

When you drive across my span I know you’re staring at the new bridge. I don’t blame you; I watch its progress every day. Even though they’ll take me apart this year I know your memories of me will stay long after I’m gone.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

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