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TZ Bridge Rebuild Likely to Start in Spring

The new Tappan Zee Bridge requires some formal permits and approvals and dredging work is tightly constrained by sturgeon rituals.

When we heard the improbable news that work on the new Tappan Zee Bridge would start in “early 2013” that seemed a long way off at the time…just a few months back.

Now it is early 2013 so the question arises of when exactly is early 2013 and what will this mean for Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow?

Beyond all the annoyances construction is bound to stir in many citizens, there is also the wow factor of getting to watch such a giant project unfold. Talk to old timers who grew up here and they speak with wonder of that first bridge construction.

When my husband and I first visited the home we would soon buy in Sleepy Hollow, the owner talked of the magic in his boyhood of watching that first TZB.

John Stiloski kindly passed along newspaper clippings, documents and photos of when the first bridge was in plans, in construction and then complete, which he happened upon in an old office desk drawer. Here's one photo when the bridge had just been completed in 1955 and Patch will post more soon.

Two Tarrytown citizens are among those holding the closest ties to the project – Planning Board member David Aukland is on the citizen advisory committee and Mayor Drew Fixell is on the mass transit advisory committee.

Aukland must have had some of this childhood magic in mind when he has suggested that asked the Thruway Authority make a designated, signed and equipped, viewing space on our shore “because the area at the bottom of West Main won't work for more than a couple of cars at a time.”

He also walked me through his sense of the timeline of what's to come:

1. Formal approval is still needed from Albany, both financial and legal. Both are expected to be automatic, as Governor Andrew Cuomo supports the project and the TA team has had those approvals in mind throughout. Aukland supposed they'll get that this month.

2. Then the builder has to get some dredging and related permits. They are in hand, but they involve entities that move gently and ask close questions. The hope is that they will come in before the dredging season.

3. The builder will start bringing in gear as soon as they get the official green light, with the monster crane as the key item. Aukland figures that is scheduled so dredging can start as soon as it is permitted.

4. The actual work however is constrained rigidly by sturgeon rituals. Aukland recalls there are two species with different mating runs, so the dredging windows are tight.

5. Aukland's estimate: The net result of all that is that work will begin in the Spring. 

So until then, we have the big cranes to tide us over at GM, and we can enjoy a bit of winter’s rest before the real excitement begins.

Do you have memories of the first TZ Bridge construction? Share them here.

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