TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The first part of the new Tappan Zee Bridge – now the Mario Cuomo Bridge – is set to open Friday.
From Drone Force 2, CBS2 got a peek over, under and around the new span.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, it took 20 years to overcome the naysayers, four years and $4 billion to build, but when the first part of the new Mario Cuomo Bridge opens, drivers will be treated to a majestic span that surprised even Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who plotted every step.
“To see it as a reality, it takes my breath away,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo took reporters on a boat tour where the critical need to replace the Tappan Zee was evident. Going under the old span, there was rust everywhere.
Cuomo called it dangerous
“This bridge was built to last 100 years, but this bridge is for our children and our children’s children,” he said.
Pictures from Drone Force 2 gave life to all the statistics – two 41-foot towers, a 3.1-mile ride that it took 7,000 men and women to build. It will accommodate more than 140,000 cars traveling between Rockland and Westchester counties.
“There are a thousand pilings,” said transportation advisor Rick Cotton.
The bridge will open to Rockland bound traffic Friday night, and sometime this fall, all the traffic will be moved to the first span. Parts of the Tappan Zee have to be removed, demolished at both ends before the construction can be finished.
Cuomo’s decision to name the bridge for his father was controversial, because the old Tappan Zee was at one point renamed for former Gov. Malcolm Wilson.
On Wednesday, Cuomo admitted his father would be a little embarrassed.
“He was very humble,” Cuomo said. “He wouldn’t like the fanfare.”
The entire bridge will open on June 15 of next year, Mario Cuomo’s birthday. He always said that 6, 15 were his lucky numbers.