Tarrytown, NY — The much anticipated opening of the eastbound span of the new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, over the Hudson River has been delayed, Saturday after a piece of the old Tappan Zee Bridge it is replacing became destabilized and threatened to fall, officials said.
“Westchester County Police became aware of the situation with the old Tappan Zee structure late Friday night,” Westchester County Executive George Latimer shared with Black Westchester. “The County immediately stepped into action, and the County Police Marine Unit was deployed to help stop river traffic from going near the old structure.”
Matthew Driscoll, the executive director of the New York State Thruway Authority, said “a potentially dangerous situation” developed Friday when a piece of the old Tappan Zee Bridge became destabilized during the process of being disassembled. He said the opening of the eastbound span of the new bridge, would be delayed “out of an abundance of caution.”
The issue arose hours after Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the late former governor’s son, held a grand opening ceremony for the new bridge span. Joined by onetime Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Cuomo said Friday that the new bridge “shows the world that we’re capable of dreaming big and delivering results for the people of this state.”
Cuomo’s rivals suggested that he had opened the $3.9 billion signature infrastructure project prematurely to garner positive coverage ahead of Thursday’s primary election.
“A ribbon-cutting ceremony should not have been held if the bridge span was not yet safe,” Cuomo’s primary opponent, actress Cynthia Nixon, said in a statement Saturday. “There are real, reasonable questions about whether this bridge span opening was accelerated to aid the governor’s campaign.”
Latimer says the “old bridge structure” (Tappan Zee Bridge), and the “new bridge” (Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge) is completely finished and ready for traffic when deemed safe.
“We continue to work closely with State officials, and are in constant conversation with engineers on the scene. The safety of Westchester County residents, and all travelers, is our top priority. Any further inquiries should be directed to the New York State Thruway Authority,” CE Latimer continued.
The first span of new bridge opened last year and currently carries Interstate 87’s eastbound and westbound traffic. Eastbound traffic was to be fully shifted to the second span Saturday morning.