Archive for the ‘Thruway Authority’ Tag

All Lanes on the Bridge are Open this Weekend

Major Deegan traffic

Car by car, traffic inched painfully slowly towards the Major Deegan Expressway. “That’s the problem with the Bronx,” mom said. “They don’t widen the highway.”

Our trip to the city midweek took more than one hour in each direction. Some landmarks are gone, too, like the old Yankee Stadium. In its place is Heritage Field, a 10-acre park not visible from the highway.

Traffic from Port Chester to Suffern remains an issue after plans for a corridor project became a bridge project. No need to worry about that now: all lanes on the bridge are open for the holiday weekend.

Have a fun few days, stay safe and don’t text or talk on the phone while driving.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

Changes at Thruway Authority Helm and on Board

The bridge made a very cool photo backdrop during media tours and still does!

Last month Governor Cuomo nominated Bill Finch, who was until then mayor of Bridgeport (where my dad was born), Acting Executive Director of the New York State Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation (subject to State Senate confirmation).

Looked like perfect weather for him and Project Director Jamey Barbas that day.

Best wishes to Mr. Finch in his new role.

Returning and new Thruway Authority board members are former state budget director Robert L. Megna and former State Senator Stephen M. Saland.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

Three Lanes in Each Direction, Traffic Congestion

ice cream stand

Yesterday was a beautiful day for a ride in the country, and we had a terrific time!

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west on the ThruwayMy friend and I left later than planned for our day trip upstate. Some define “upstate” as Westchester, some as Rockland. We planned to take Exit 16 and agreed it starts (for us) somewhere around New Paltz or Kingstson (Exits 18 or 19) off the Thruway.

It took us less time to get from my friend’s house to 287 near Exit 2 (I took the Sprain) than it did to get from that point to the bridge’s approach span. Given that it was Father’s Day, we anticipated some traffic; this amount was ridiculous.

trafficRecently I followed an online discussion and traffic on the Thruway and what happens when the new bridge is completed. Those were my thoughts as I drove; she read my mind and asked what happens if the Thruway remains three lanes in each direction?

Above is what we saw past Exit 9 westbound around 1:30 p.m. yesterday.

east on the Thruway Doesn’t look so bad, right? Probably not, compared to what happened when we were past Exit 15 on the way home (around 7 p.m.), where traffic crawled from there to bridge for the next 45 minutes. As I drove we took turns commenting about the traffic. “What’s going to happen when the bridge opens?”

Stop-and-go traffic continued until Exit 10 (left) and across the bridge to exit Exit 9. We talkI told her about the corridor project that became the bridge project.

east on the Thruway 2A partial answer to the congestion west of the bridge in Rockland and east of it in Westchester is a new bus rapid transit system. While not an expansion, this solution was discussed last year, and money to implement it was infused months later.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

It’s Nearly One Thousand Ninety-Five Days Later

Crews place road deck panels on top of the blue girders we can see while driving/NYSTA

Crews place road deck panels on top of the blue girders we can see while driving/NYSTA

Can you believe three years went by so fast? I know. Neither can I. It seems like yesterday the New NY Bridge project was approved for a ginormous TIFIA loan. Word came 10 months after Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC, started the project; the deal was finalized before the year ended.

Fluffy clouds painted onto a blue sky/© Janie Rosman 2014

Fluffy clouds painted onto a blue sky/© Janie Rosman 2014

Every time I got into a boat on the river was exciting for me, even when the weather was against me the day the super crane made its first placement. The sky and colorful machinery are a terrific contrast with the stark bridge.

If someone asked what was the most exciting I’d say it was last June, when we stood under the bridge near the Rockland side and watched the super crane place the first girder assembly. We had a perfect view of the project from river level and saw the piers in various stages of completion.

Placements can take from 1 to 4 hours/© Janie Rosman 2015

Placements can take from 1 to 4 hours/© Janie Rosman 2015

Something else I noticed when I downloaded the pictures was the crew’s fixed attention as it was happening so I cropped one picture and enlarged that section of it.

One reader suggested I document the project’s first 1,000 days. It’s a terrific idea. So much has happened between January 18, 2013, and October 15, 2015. That 1,000th day was two months short of the Tappan Zee’s 60th birthday and for some kids a special celebration. Do you notice people sometimes say the current bridge as if there are two?

Perception: cars and trucks look small/© Janie Rosman 2014

Perception: cars and trucks look small/© Janie Rosman 2014

One favorite picture from a June 2014 media tour offers size perspective: a huge truck on the bridge is tiny when you see it going by, and while the bridge is large, it pales in size next to the huge cranes and various-sized barges they’re mounted on and that move them to where they’re needed.

Year four starts Monday as the project moves closer to its spring 2018 completion date. The first meeting I covered was in March 2012;  the following April came this blog, where I post several times each week. To read a synopsis of the project by year click here, here and here.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

No Charge to Walk/Bicycle across the New Bridge

Seen also in yellow at some TZB E-ZPass® lanes/ Rob Jones

Seen also in yellow at some TZB E-ZPass® lanes/ Rob Jones

Governor Andrew Cuomo talked about tolls last October when he was in Piermont to welcome the crane. “We need to get a little more specific information before we can figure out what the tolls could be,” he said.

Asked about the task force he proposed in 2012 to address this, Cuomo listed the unknowns: how much from the feds and the state, plus state loans and grants available, and built-in contract incentives for Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) to finish the project before spring 2018 or penalties for completing it later.

Anyone hear about incentives and penalties?

“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.

We know some of those numbers.

The governor assured the task force will be formed “I think within the next year, certainly,” and commuters “should have to pay as little as possible.”

We’re waiting to hear.

CLRamdhUkAAzSjCEarlier this year (May) the Thruway Authority Board approved a $1.9 billion spending plan that closes a gap identified in the original 2015 budget approved last December. It includes more than $22 million in spending cuts, nearly $44 million in reduced debt service costs and no toll increases for any part of the Thruway system.

The agency’s fiscal year is January 1 through December 31.

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Even teenagers want to know what the tolls will be (TBD) and if it will be free to cross the bridge on their bicycles and on foot (yes to both). While there’s no clue about the future fare — and sometimes grumbling about the current one — there is a way to see things differently.

“How much it is?” mom asked. We were driving back from Rockland, cranes and piers to the left and metal overhead. “Five dollars,” I replied. “Do we have to pay both ways?” “No, one way, coming into Westchester,” I said.

She paused. “That’s not bad. Only two-fifty each way.” I grinned.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

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