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Breakneck Speed Of Tappan Zee Replacement Project Has Opponents Stunned

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Tappan Zee Bridge (credit: CBS 2)

Tappan Zee Bridge (credit: CBS 2)

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NYACK, N.Y. (CBS 2) – You can call it the “Tappan Zee Bridge Express.”

The new multi-billion dollar project for the 3-mile span over the Hudson River is on a breakneck schedule that has opponents crying foul.

The Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project is moving so fast critics and opponents are stunned. Its days as a commuter crossing are numbered.

“They’ve drunk the Kool-Aid — because Washington says it’s an election year and we’ve gotta do something, they’re building a bridge,” Nyack trustee Marie Lorenzini told CBS 2′s Lou Young.

“We are the citizens that are expendable when any man-made construction comes by,” Charles Westwater said.

It’s not just the new bridge that’s causing the uproar, it’s the approaches to the new bridge featuring two new spans. The old span will remain open during construction for 5 years. That means some of the houses in the area are going to have to go and their neighbors, who will live right up against the new roadway, are anxious.

“Oh, I am really mad at him,” said Ruby Frae, referring to President Barack Obama.

The president, who fast-tracked the Tappan Zee, gave Governor Andrew Cuomo the opportunity to push the project through. The house next door to Frae and its garage will be taken by the state, leaving folks like her on the front line.

“It devastates us,” Frae said. “We are never, ever going to be able to sell our house.”

“I can’t believe it’s happening right when we were getting ready to retire and move away and now we won’t be able to sell our house,” said Carol Serrone, a South Nyack resident.

And it’s not the bridge itself, but the timing that’s so shocking. Such a rare jolt of decision making and instant action is so unlike the drawn-out process that preceded it.

For bridge backers, that’s a good thing.

“We’ve had a decade or more of conversation, of debate, of different design, of different presentations– it was never done. Now’s the moment and we have to take advantage of it,” said Al Samuels, President of the Rockland Business Association.

The Thruway Authority has one final public hearing before the bids for the bridge are awarded this spring. That final public hearing was set to take place Thursday night at the Westchester Marriot in Greenburgh.

Are you upset by the replacement project?  Share your thoughts in the comments section…

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