Sunday, September 9, 2018

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Cancelled opening of new bridge becomes political issue - UPDATE!

Remnant of old Tappan Zee Bridge

NYACK – Hours after Governor Andrew Cuomo dedicated both spans of the new bridge he got named after his father, the late Governor Mario Cuomo, opening of the second span was cancelled because a section of the old adjacent Tappan Zee Bridge was determined to be a hazard.

A celebration on the second span of the new bridge was held Friday morning with all present praising the current governor for moving the project forward, but the promised Friday night opening never happened.

As crews continued to dismantle the old bridge Friday night, “workers heard a noise from the old bridge’s east anchor span, which triggered an inspection of the bridge joints of the old bridge,” Tappan Zee Contractors’ President and Project Executive Terry Towle said Saturday night.

“A deviation in one of the old bridge’s joints was observed. The flawed joint could possibly cause a part of the old structure to fail and fall” resulting in the new second span remaining closed.

That has prompted questions about the timing of Cuomo’s celebration less than a week before his Democratic primary election bid.

The Thruway Authority said Saturday morning a piece of the old bridge became “destabilized and could fall (and) given the proximity to the new completed span, out an abundance of caution, motorists will remain in the current traffic configuration until a thorough evaluation by Tappan Zee Constructors is complete.”

“Safety has to come above all else, and the governor needs to be fully transparent about what happened here,” said Democratic political opponent Cynthia Nixon. “A ribbon cutting ceremony should not have been held if the bridge span was not yet safe. There are real, reasonable questions about whether this bridge span opening was accelerated to aid in the governor’s campaign,” she said, calling for an investigation.

Republican gubernatorial candidate, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro charged the bridge opening was politically motivated. “It’s now clearer than ever that the bridge was opened to meet Governor Cuomo’s political timetable without regard to public safety.”

Molinaro said the first priority “must be the safety of motorists and to ensure that the entirety of the new bridge is safe and that deconstruction of the old span can be completed without danger.”

Towle said Saturday evening that engineers are studying the failures and modeling the current structural wellbeing of the old bridge while evaluating options to address the situation.

 


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