A bridge more traveled

The Tappan Zee’s replacement could be a boon for real estate markets on both side of the Hudson

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Westchester commuters, rejoice! After years of delays, the process of replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge — long a serious bottleneck between Westchester and Rockland counties— is moving along at a steady clip toward its debut in 2018. Decking on one side of the 3.1-mile conduit is virtually complete, and the last of the bridge’s eight 419-foot main span towers topped off in December. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo commemorated the completion of that stage with a press conference held on the new Hudson River crossing, called the New NY Bridge, during which he said the project “sends a powerful message to the world that nothing is too big or too difficult for the Empire State.” The other message is one of relief for drivers who long ago stopped questioning whether there was a traffic jam on the 61-year-old bridge, but only how bad it was. With narrow lanes and no emergency shoulders, the bridge has an accident rate twice as high as the rest of New York State’s 574-mile Thruway system.

Houlihan Lawrence real estate broker Nancy Kennedy said that beyond the fact that “the new bridge will relieve a lot of congestion and ease traffic flowing between the two counties,” she believes the New NY Bridge will create more jobs on both sides of the Hudson and will boost the local real estate markets there.


The approximate construction cost of replacing the existing Tappan Zee Bridge. The state Thruway Authority took out a $1.6 billion low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation and received $2 billion in settlement funds from bank misconduct. New York officials say this is one of the biggest active bridge projects in the U.S. and the largest ever for the state.


The year the Tappan Zee Bridge originally opened, carrying about 18,000 drivers daily at the time. The bridge was an important part of the New York State Thruway system, touted  as “the world’s greatest highway” by former Gov. Thomas Dewey, who saw the toll bridge as a cash cow to pay for the rest of the system.


Projected population in Westchester County by 2030, according to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC). Westchester saw its population grow by 3 percent between the 2000 and 2010 Censuses — faster than New York State’s 2 percent. The number of employed people in the county is expected to grow from 555,699 in 2010 to 693,429 in 2030, says the NYMTC.


Number of companies where jobs have been created, either directly or indirectly, by the bridge construction project, according to New York State. Some 680 New York businesses have won contracts from Tappan Zee Constructors, the entity that oversees the project.


Average minutes Westchester residents spend on commuting each way daily. Sixty-three percent drive alone, while 8 percent carpool, 22 percent use mass transit and 5 percent walk. Nearly half (48 percent) of Westchester residents work in the county; 21.4 percent work in Manhattan and 5.6 percent work in the Bronx.

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Taxpayer dollars spent on plans for the Tappan Zee Bridge before state action  in October 2011 fast-tracked the once-stalled project. Planners considered 150 concepts.


Equivalent number of Statues of Liberty that the “super crane” being used to construct the new bridge — and that will help demolish the existing one — is capable of lifting at once.


General traffic lanes on the new twin-span bridge —  up from seven on the existing bridge, where some lanes are skinnier than the standard 12-foot width. With four lanes in either direction, wider shoulders and cashless tolling (introduced on the old bridge in April), the new bridge is expected to be much speedier to cross.


Number of steel piles driven into the bed of the Hudson River to support the bridge. If laid end to end, the piles would stretch more than 50 miles. And the 300,000 cubic yards of concrete used in the construction is enough to build a sidewalk from the bridge all the way to Key West, Florida.


Tolls generated by the 50 million vehicles that crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge in 2015, according to the New York State Thruway Authority. Drivers with E-ZPass pay $4.75 to cross the bridge.


Vehicles that cross the Tappan Zee Bridge per day now. The bridge was only designed to carry up to 100,000 vehicles daily.