NYACK, N.Y. – Residents on the opposite side of the Hudson River derided the impact of construction and the lack of mass transit on the proposed Tappan Zee Bridge during a public information briefing, but they also praised the job opportunities the project would bring to Rockland County.
“We acknowledge the fact this bridge must be built and it must be built soon,” Nyack resident and real estate agent John Patrick Schutz said. “I got stuck there 45 minutes last night in the construction, looking at the structure of the bridge. We know it must be done...What we ask is that you make the impact as small as possible on us.”
The briefing was the second of two public hearings for transportation officials to hear comments from the public on proposed plans for a replacement Tappan Zee Bridge. Thursday's briefing was held at the Palisades Center in Nyack.
Proposed plans for the new bridge include two twin spans with four lanes of traffic in each direction. The South Broadway Bridge in Nyack would also be replaced. There is no mass-transit specifically included in the proposals, but officials say the infrastructure won't preclude mass transit in the future. Current plans would cost $5.2 billion with construction ending in 2017.
Rockland Business Association Present and CEO Al Samuels praised the estimated 10,000 construction jobs that would be available once the project started. “We need this bridge,” he said. “We need the 10,000 construction jobs that will be available to people from Rockland County and Westchester County.”
Although, Samuels said, the Rockland Business Association would love to have mass transit and the other amenities that have been proposed in the public comments, “We do not want to see anything hold up the construction of a safe crossing.”
South Nyack Mayor Patricia DuBow, in a statement read aloud at the meeting, urged officials to consider the impact construction would have on the village, saying South Nyack was “ground zero” for the project. DuBow noted the previous bridge “destroyed the economic center and growth of our village by ripping out 118 houses and the entire commercial district.”
“We get a new bridge. We get more noise. We get more dirt. We get more pollution. We get more construction,” she wrote, “but we do not get anything that repairs the damage to our village or prevents future damage in our village.”
Nyack Deputy Mayor Jen Laird White encouraged officials to add mass transit to the bridge because of impact of vehicle emissions and congestion, saying “We do not want the bridge of 1955, but the bridge of 2055. Let's change the scoping language to “not preclude” to “definitely include,” she said.
For more information on the Tappan Zee Bridge project, visit our Tappan Zee Bridge topics page.