Archive for the ‘Westchester County’ Tag

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

Where the Bridge meets Water, Land and Itself

Above is one of the two 14-foot-thick foundations that each support four of the eight main span towers. Each foundation is 360 feet long and 60 feet wide and is filled with 11,000 cubic yards of concrete.

“Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” Really?

This is kinda bridge-related since it intrigued us in a @NewNYBridge tweet.

Remember when we were stumped by what looked like a football helmet with stubs (looked like to me) sticking out of the sides (below)? Here’s where you can find this intriguing piece of art and much more.

You thought I forgot to write about current bridge news, right? To read what’s doing, check herePhoto courtesy New York State Thruway Authority.

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

Throwback Thursday: Four Years Earlier . . .

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

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

Tomorrow’s presidential inauguration has been the focus of media coverage and attention nationwide and around the world: a new leader will be sworn into office, a testament to our democracy.

Today for Throwback Thursday I’m noting the anniversary of another event: four years ago yesterday NYS Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli approved the contract with Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge. At the time it was called the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project.

Crews began pre-construction work two months later.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

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