The Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing is needed because the number of vehicles crossing the bridge every day far exceeds the number it was designed to handle, traffic jams and delays are a regular occurrence, accident rates are high, and maintenance costs on the old bridge were expected to be $3 to 4 billion over the next 20 years.
After more than a decade of delay, the new bridge to replace the Tappan Zee is becoming a reality. The first span of the new twin-span bridge is scheduled to open in 2016, and the new bridge should be complete in 2018. The new bridge will be designed and constructed to last 100 years without major structural maintenance.
The new bridge will be a visually striking, recognizable landmark, and one of the widest cable-stayed structures of its kind in the world. The Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing will mean less congestion for motorists, with eight traffic lanes, four breakdown/emergency lanes, and state-of-the-art traffic monitoring systems, as well as a dedicated commuter bus lane from the day it opens. Designed and constructed to be mass-transit-ready, the new crossing will be able to accommodate bus rapid transit, light rail or commuter rail. The bridge will also include a bike and pedestrian path.
The total cost of the new project is $3.9 billion, far less than initially expected. The design-build contract for the bridge will help keep the project on-budget and on-time, because financial risk associated with most cost overruns or schedule delays lies with the contractor, rather than toll payers or taxpayers.