NEW YORK—Gov. Andrew Cuomo released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) Monday, for a bridge to replace the Tappan Zee.
“Building this new bridge is one of our state’s largest infrastructure projects and, as we move forward, we are making every effort to limit negative impacts on residents and the environment,” Cuomo said in a release.
The FEIS took into account over 3,000 comments compiled from public hearings attended by more than 1,100 people.
To mitigate public concern around the project, the government will install monitors to measure construction noise and assess emissions, as well as 24-hour video cameras to document the project.
Construction workers will be required to take measures to prevent excessive noise that would disturb aquatic life, such as using vibration techniques to install piling in the riverbed, and limiting dredging operations during peak fish-spawning and migrating seasons.
Construction is estimated to last 4.5 to 5.5 years, and cost $4.6 billion to $5.6 billion.
About $300 million will go toward “consideration for future transit”—vague language that has transit advocates upset.
“After months spent working with community members and elected officials to ensure transit’s place in the project, Tri-State was disappointed to see that New York state did not heed the popular call for bus rapid transit,” said Veronica Vanterpool, executive director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign, in a statement.
Even the “modest step” of rush-hour-only bus lanes has been turned into a question mark, Vanterpool said, pointing to the portion of the FEIS that states “the new bridge could support the ability for express bus services.”Transit advocates have been saying for months that bus lanes should be added east and west of the new bridge. State documents state that adding lanes for Rapid Bus Transit would add $5 billion to the bridge’s cost, but projections in the documents show that $1 billion to $3 billion of the estimate is for highway improvements—not just the cost of adding the lanes. This has transit advocates crying foul.
Cuomo recently announced a toll free number (855-TZBRIDGE) that New Yorkers can call to submit questions and concerns about the bridge. The bridge replacement project also has a website: NewNYBridge.com.
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council still has to approve the project. It postponed a July 10 meeting because several officials wanted to review the FEIS first.
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