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FHWA 42-12
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Contact: Doug Hecox
Tel: 202-366-0660

Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement Project Clears Federal Environmental Review

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -The "record of decision" for the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge was signed today, completing an important step in the project's federal environmental review process. Federal permitting decisions and environmental reviews for the project were designated to be expedited in October 2011, by a Presidential Memorandum signed by President Obama. This effort is a part of a government-wide initiative to make the permitting and review process for infrastructure projects more efficient and effective, saving time while driving better outcomes for the environment and local communities, and reducing the timeline for the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge by as much as 2-3 years.

"This milestone will allow New York to put people to work and improve a key piece of infrastructure on one of the East Coast's most heavily traveled routes," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

According to the state of New York, the Tappan Zee Bridge will consist of two parallel bridges built north of the existing single bridge and will feature modern seismic reinforcement. Each new bridge will offer drivers four lanes of traffic, including an extra-wide inside shoulder for emergency access and an outside shoulder on each new bridge. In addition, the north bridge will feature a 12-foot-wide bike and pedestrian path and the southern bridge will offer drivers three highway-speed E-ZPass lanes. Combined, these new features will help improve safety for drivers and improve traffic flow.

When constructed in 1955, the Tappan Zee Bridge was designed to carry 100,000 vehicles at its peak. It now carries an estimated 134,000 vehicles each day and up to 160,000 on certain weekends.

In the last 20 years, the Tappan Zee Bridge has shown significant deterioration. Heavy traffic along I-87/I-287 corridor makes it a major traffic bottleneck along one of the East Coast's major economic routes. In addition, the bridge's accident rate is twice that of the New York Thruway system. It features seven narrow lanes, no shoulders and is vulnerable to damage from storms, earthquakes and collisions with ships.

"The construction of this new bridge will create thousands of jobs," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "It's a prime example of what President Obama called 'an America built to last.' When completed, it will make travel safer and more efficient in one of the nation's busiest areas - setting the stage for economic growth for years to come."

The New York State Thruway Authority will oversee construction, spanning the river between Rockland and Westchester Counties in New York.

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