This past weekend, a new Tappan Zee Bridge opened to complete the most ambitious bridge-building project in the New York area since 1964. The 3.1-mile bridge connects Connecticut and New York at one of the widest spots on the river. Built by 7,000 workers at a cost of $4 billion, the new bridge is eventually expected to serve 140,000 drivers a day.
According to The New York Times, the main decks of the bridge are held up by 192 cables connected to eight towers, each 419 feet tall.
The original Tappan Zee Bridge opened in 1955. The new bridge will have four lanes, one more lane than the old bridge. However, the lanes will be a bit wider, and there will now be a shoulder along the side of the road. Mass transit advocates are disappointed that there was no accommodation for a rail line, but bike and pedestrian lanes have been added.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that the toll for the bridge will not increase before 2020. The $5.00 toll ($4.75 with EZ-Pass) is currently paid by cars traveling east to New York. That’s a bargain compared to the $15.00 paid by those coming in from New Jersey on the George Washington Bridge.
The reason for building the bridge at such a wide and expensive spot on the river is political. Anything built within 25 miles of the Statue of Liberty is controlled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. This location is just outside of those limits, making it a project controlled solely by the state of New York.
While it’s been half a century since such a bridge was completed in the New York area, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was completed in 2013.
- The New York Times, "Bridge of Grand Ambitions Is Set to Open at the Tappan Zee," August 24, 2017
Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day is published by Ballotpedia. Each weekday, Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day explores interesting and newsworthy topics at the intersection of culture, politics, and technology.
Scott Rasmussen is a Senior Fellow for the Study of Self-Governance at the King’s College in New York and an Editor-At-Large for Ballotpedia, the Encyclopedia of American Politics. His most recent book, "Politics Has Failed: America Will Not," was published by the Sutherland Institute in May.To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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