April 4, 2013
The Tappan Zee Bridge Task Force and Mayor Christian met today with representatives from the Governor’s office and Tappan Zee Constructors (TZC). When we first met with TZC on February 6, we reviewed outstanding issues to be addressed. We agreed that we would have a series of meetings to address individual issues in more depth. It unfortunately took two months for them to schedule the second meeting.
TZC presented a rough construction schedule for the next few months. Pre-construction activities have already started. A barge in the river is being used for sample borings in the riverbed. TZC will also soon begin surveying at the Rockland landing by River Road.
In mid May, TZC will begin relocating overhead utilities to underground. This will involve digging in River Road just north of the bridge and burying the utilities. We expressed concern about disruptions to traffic on River Road. TZC said they will be contacting and cooperating with the South Nyack/Grandview Police.
Construction of the “trestle” will begin mid-summer. This is the pier into the river that will be used transfer personnel and materials to barges. TZC said they have modified the design of the trestle to make it reach farther out into the river and thus reduce the amount of needed dredging. The trestle will also be narrower than originally proposed. We raised a concern that the original wider trestle was designed to allow trucks to enter and leave without backing up. This was intended to avoid the use of backup alarms. We asked if the narrower trestle would eliminate this benefit. TZC said they would look into this issue.
Exit 10 Staging
We discussed the use of Exit 10 for staging. The Thruway has been clearing out their trucks and materials to make way for TZC to use the site. TZC plans to install a chain-link fence around the area with plastic baffles (typically used on tennis courts) and decorated with artwork from local schoolchildren.
We reiterated our opposition to the use of this area. Most of the surrounding neighborhood is much higher than the area and looks down upon it. Fencing will be ineffective for screening. We are also concerned about increased noise, such as backup alarms.
We asked for more details about how the staging area will be used and the amount of traffic expected to travel between the site and the trestle.
TZC informed us that they are proposing to permanently locate an All-Electronic Tolling (AET) facility in the vicinity of Exit 10. This would replace the current Tarrytown toll booths with completely cashless toll collections. Overhead gantries would hold detectors for EZ-Pass tags and cameras to take pictures of the license plates of cars without EZ-Pass and bill them.
We have stressed that the current use ofthe Exit 10 area is inconsistent with the residential neighborhood and is an eyesore. We have continuously pressed for reduction or elimination of this use. Adding the AET increases the inappropriate uses of that area. The addition of the AET structures will add an additional unsightly element, particularly for the hillside neighborhood that overlooks the area. It also interferes with the Village’s exploration of economic development for the Exit 10 area.
This proposal is outside of the project limits. It was not studied in the EIS, so its impacts on our Village have not been assessed. We stated that any proposal to expand the project must comply with SEQRA and NEPA requirements.
TZC said they had considered several alternatives. We asked to review these alternatives with TZC.
The Thruway continues to proceed with plans for our Village without consideration of the effects on the Village. They continue to impose impacts on us that we must endure without bringing anything beneficial to our community. We have consistently stated that practical, appropriate solutions can only be developed in collaboration with the Village.
Brian Conybeare,the Governor’s representative, noted our concerns and said they would consider other alternatives for siting the AET and continue discussions about this with the Village.
Other Outstanding Issues
When we last met in early February,the State and TZC had agreed to meet regularly with us to address our unresolved issues. It took two months to have this next meeting and no progress was made on the outstanding issues. Instead, a new troubling issue was added. We protested that construction activities are already beginning without resolutions to our issues. We pressed the State to come back immediately to discuss solutions to these issues with us.