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Replacing The Tappan Zee Bridge - New York State's Ultimate Infrastructure Challenge

Wednesday June 2011


Nicole Gelinas Contributing Editor, City Journal

Speakers: Nicole Gelinas, Contributing Editor, City Journal
Panelists: Edward Burroughs, Planning Commissioner, Westchester County
Mary Ann Crotty, President, Macro Associates
Barry Lepatner, LePatner & Associates LLP
Ross Pepe, Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley, Inc.

Moderator: Edmund J. McMahon, Senior Fellow, Empire Center for New York State Policy

The Tappan Zee Bridge, which carries 51 million vehicles annually across the Hudson River between Rockland and Westchester counties, is one of the Northeast region’s most important transportation arteries. Constructed cheaply in the mid-1950s, the three-mile, seven-lane bridge carries more traffic than ever—and is in need of replacement. As Nicole Gelinas writes in the spring issue of City Journal, the bridge is “a disaster in slow motion.” Inspection reports have highlighted design flaws, corrosion, and neglect. Yet the state is at least a decade away from completing a replacement, and years from starting construction.

With New York’s infrastructure budget severely underfunded, the cost of a new bridge—estimated at $9 billion to $16 billion—is one obstacle. Delay carries financial cost, as the state must maintain the original structure. The state also exposes commuters to the risk that the bridge could suffer a critical crack, forcing its immediate closure.

Commuters will keep coming—but can we rebuild it? Please join our distinguished speakers and panelists for a discussion of the challenges associated with engineering, financing, and completing this vital project.