Archive for the ‘New York State Thruway’ Tag

A Look Back at Turn-of-the-Century Bridge Plans

Originally scheduled for print publication, this story was cut due to lack of space. Photos from when the Tappan Zee Bridge was built are courtesy of the New York State Thruway Authority.

Forty-one months ago and with the recently-closed Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge as his backdrop, President Barack Obama spoke about his transportation bill, announcing a new infrastructure plan that included fast-tracking the bridge replacement project.

“At times you can see the river through the cracks of the pavement,” Obama had commented about it. “Now, I’m not an engineer, but I figure that’s not good.

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The idea to build a bridge across one of the widest points in the Hudson River began as early as 1905 with a bridge (railroad) Piermont to Hastings. Calls continued for the next 20 or so years.

Craig Long, historian for Rockland County, the villages of Montebello and Suffern and the Town of Ramapo, recalled Pearl River resident and state assemblyman Fred Horn — nicknamed “Father of the Bridge” — proposed a bill in 1930 for a bridge from Piermont to Hastings with Hook Mountain and Rockland Lake as other locations.

During the next two years, Horn proposed that idea and a bridge/tunnel from Snedens Landing to Dobb’s Ferry; however, the site was within the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s 25-mile jurisdiction. Those ideas failed as did Horn when he ran for re-election.

Long said via email that in 1935, the Rockland Causeway-Tunnel Authority was created with a drive to bridge the Hudson from Nyack to Tarrytown. “As studies begin, no determination is made as to whether Upper Nyack, Nyack, or South Nyack will be the bridge’s terminus. In August of that year, it is central Nyack; by October it is South Nyack, Voorhis Point.”

The following March (1936) Grand View was chosen as a potential landing site; by August the War Department approved it and Tarrytown on the Westchester side. While Hook Mountain again a choice the northern location didn’t sit well with Zoning Commissioner Elmer Hader, who gained support for nixing the idea, or with residents.

“This is the beauty spot of the Hudson Valley, which should not be destroyed by a bridge,” Zoning Commissioner Elmer Hader protested. New York State governor Thomas E. Dewey, and local legislators, received hundreds of telegrams and letters protesting the proposed 3.25-mile crossing, according to an editorial in The New York Times said.

South Nyack’s business district and Tarrytown riverfront estates were sacrificed and paved the way for this Hudson Valley crossing more than 60 years ago that lasted beyond its time. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute alumnus Emil H. Pager of Madigan-Hyland designed the $81 million Bridge for a 50-year service life that resulted in a utilitarian appearance, RPI Professor Michael Symons noted.

Foundation piers and steel false work were constructed near Haverstraw at Grassy Point. Rive water was dammed off to lower its level, and when the piers were completed, the dams were broken to release the water. Those newly-constructed sections were then towed downriver to the project site.

Ten days before Christmas 1955, the new bridge opened to traffic, connecting I-87 northbound from New York City to Albany, and later connecting to I-287 (Cross Westchester Expressway). Legislation signed by Governor W. Averell Harriman on February 28, 1956, officially named it the Tappan Zee Bridge to honor the Tappan Indians of the Lenape tribe and Zee for “sea” in Dutch.

Twelve-year-old Paul Anderson surprised everyone at the ribbon-cutting ceremony — including Nyack resident and actress Helen Hayes MacArthur, Thruway Authority Chairman Bertram D. Tallamy, and other dignitaries — by walking across the bridge, earning him a ride in the governor’s black Cadillac.

In 1994, the structure was rededicated and renamed when Governor Malcolm Wilson’s name was added on the 20th anniversary of his leaving the governor’s office.

A 27-mile stretch of Thruway from Suffern to Yonkers opened only 18 months after the first cars drove on the thruway upstate. Not what you’d expect four days after opening was a major traffic accident when four cars traveling from Rockland to Westchester at dusk bumped into each other.

The bridge was eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (under Criteria A and C in Appendix D – Preliminary Section 106 and 4(f) Analysis for Tappan Zee Bridge). The purportedly-100-year-old wood barge and its coal cargo submerged below – reminiscent of the river’s role in industry and commerce, and in the construction zone – was also recommended for the same prestigious award.

Coincidentally, March 1952 marked the start of construction, and 60 years later (March 2012) came a Request for Proposal (RFP) for its replacement — the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge — whose westbound span recently opened. As eastbound traffic was moved to that span ahead of schedule, crews are dismantling the TZB’s landings so the new bridge’s eastbound span can be completed.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

For Old Times’ Sake: Last Look at Familiar Views

Now that I won’t see the bridge from these views again, what’s left to do? Look at pictures. Here are some at various times of day and in different weather. This was taken a sunny afternoon in August and was used in a Tweet.

Trucking through a snowstorm on the Tappan Zee Bridge (not the same day) /© Wn.com

I wrote a blog post about coming out of a school board meeting in early January some years ago to discover it was snowing heavily. Because I knew the Thruway would have trucks clearing the snow (and other trucks’ tires clearing a path), I drove north to Tarrytown and felt better once I was on I-87 and then on I-287.

While I don’t recall when I took this, it must have been during the past month or two. Happened to look up at the clouds and took advantage of the beautiful day and a cellphone camera.

This photo courtesy of the New York State Thruway Authority is from Friday night as the last cars were heading eastbound on the Tappan Zee before it was closed.

Checking out the new eastbound ride this week. I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

Maintenance Facility Structure is taking Shape

These photos of the new maintenance facility near the Westchester landing were taken two weeks ago, when I drove across the new span.

Crews are constructing walls and preparing steel fabrications, and they continue building footing and retaining walls for the police facility on the south side of the Thruway.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

Tower Crane Removal; Structures Underway

Checking out the cranes as the towers gain height via jump forms/© Janie Rosman 2016

Six months (brr!) ago the towers ceremoniously got their last cement pour, after which tower cranes began to remove the blue jump forms that helped build them.

The blue forms are a thing of the past, and recently the main span tower cranes said their goodbyes to the project. No longer needed, the second of two red tower cranes that helped construct the main span will soon be gone.

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Instead of calling the driver in front of you names for crossing the solid line to get in front of you — HELLO. Other. Driver. It’s. A. Solid. Line. For. A. Reason. — look to the right (if it’s safe to do so). You’ll see additional concrete walls and formwork on the new maintenance facility in Tarrytown.

Here’s what it looked like yesterday per the New NY Bridge’s webcam. Near the top right (on the south side of the Thruway) are retaining walls and footing for the new state police facility.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

TBT: Changed View of Ever-Changing Scenery

Westbound on the Tappan Zee Bridge, circa July 2008/Courtesy of Ian C. Ligget

I shall miss the sloping road above, whose replacement in an adding-the-final-touches photo, courtesy of New York State Thruway Authority, looks like this:

Will you miss it, too? I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

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