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Officials Hope To Avoid Traffic Nightmare When Tappan Zee Ramp Closes

Tappan Zee Bridge Construction

Equipment in place for construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge. (Credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — For three workdays in mid-December the streets of Tarrytown were a parking lot.

“Took me an hour to go a mile at about 5 o’clock,” Mayor Drew Fixell said, “Everywhere you looked there were cars that were tied up.”

Mayor Fixell said that Routes 9 and 119 were a nightmare.

He hopes that it won’t be another disaster when the local access ramp to the Tappan Zee Bridge shuts down for good at 10 a.m. on Monday morning.

State officials said that the December problems were not a direct result of the ramp closure but of regional situations like a snowstorm and diverted traffic due to problems at the George Washington Bridge.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s special adviser for the Tappan Zee Bridge project, Brian Conybeare, told 1010 WINS the ramp has to be closed and that there are no other options.

“We literally cannot build the new New York bridge with this ramp open. Traffic is going to be shifted north on the highway in the coming months and this ramp will actually become part of the highway,” Conybeare said.

Conybeare said the ramp closure should not pose a problem.

“Like any major roadway in the Tri-State area where there is a series of accidents or a snowstorm or something catastrophic happens there can absolutely be traffic but this should not be an issue on normal commute nights,” he said.

Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner hopes they’re right.

“It would be intolerable if conditions the next four years are like they were,” he said.

Conybeare added that the move is actually in an effort to avoid future gridlock.

“One of the reasons we’re replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge in the first place is to avoid some of the gridlock conditions. And in order to build the new bridge we have to close this ramp to make it all work,” he told 1010 WINS.

The state said that it is alerting drivers, changing the timing of some traffic signals, and putting messages on electronic signs.

“What we have done is we have sent out 11,000 postcards to residents and businesses in the area that’s affected. We have sent out thousands of emails, we’ve put up additional signage, we’ve changed traffic signal timings, and re-striping pavement. All to try and smooth things out in the area,” Conybeare said.

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