Tarrytown Tappan Zee ramp closure begins

Joe Torres reports from Tarrytown
March 10, 2014 5:42:18 PM PDT
A traffic headache that will last four years began in Tarrytown Monday.

The entrance ramp to the northbound Tappan Zee Bridge from Route 9 is now closed for the construction of the new bridge that will be built parallel to the current one.

Officials feel confident the closure won't produce the kind of traffic jams that happened during a three-day closure of the ramp in December, blaming accidents and bad weather for those massive tie-ups. They also say comparisons to the delays during the BridgeGate scandal on the George Washington Bridge are overblown.

Still, many residents are very worried.

"I think what they should have done is come up with an alternate plan to store their equipment, you know. Even if it cost a few dollars, they should have spent the money and avoided what is going to be chaos," Russell Geary, Tarrytown resident, said.

You heard it... chaos. And we heard that numerous times from people and drivers unhappy about the closure of the Tarrytown entrance ramp to the Tappan Zee Bridge. It's not like they didn't know it was coming.

"We've sent out 11-thousand post cards to residents in Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, Irvington and Greenburgh notifying them of the ramp closure. We've sent out thousands of emails," Brian Conybeare, Special Advisor to the Governor, said.

State leaders say construction of the new $3.9 billion bridge cannot happen without the ramp closure. Workers need to move underground utilities, build a retaining wall and store construction equipment.

"I think it's insane. They have to close an entrance ramp to park their stuff, because no one is going to complain?" driver Robert Cohen said.

"They are doing a lot of development up in Sleepy Hollow and I don't know how they are going to put all those apartments in and have traffic go through Route 9," driver Ben Nisbet said.

The ramp was closed temporarily back in December and that led to massive traffic tie-ups that clogged the heart of Tarrytown. About a dozen new signs now sign point drivers to nearby Route 119 for access onto westbound 287.

"You're gonna have to go down and make all these turns and it's just going to make traffic ten times worse, but the whole Tappan Zee thing is just misplanned," Margo Radin, Tarrytown resident, said.

"Everybody in town knows not to come around this area or anywhere, so these businesses that are here - the local businesses - are not really going to get much cause we know that we'll get stuck in this," resident Linda Husted said.