TARRYTOWN, Westchester County (WABC) -- Hillary Clinton was among the guests of honor present Friday for the official opening of the eastbound span of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
The former secretary of state, Democratic presidential nominee, U.S. senator and Westchester County resident joined current Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the event, which comes as crews wrap up work on the bridge's second span.
The bridge links Westchester and Rockland counties over the Hudson River and replaces the old Tappan Zee Bridge, parts of which will live on as artificial reefs off Long Island.
The new bridge's first span opened last year, when the structure was named to honor Mario Cuomo, governor from 1983 to 1994 and father of the state's current chief executive. He died on Jan. 1, 2015.
The $3.98 billion project to construct the 3.1-mile bridge -- the first cable-stayed bridge across the Hudson River -- and its ancillary facilities is one of the largest in the United States and the biggest in the history of the New York State Thruway Authority. Operations to shift four lanes of Westchester-bound traffic to the new span will begin at approximately 8 p.m., weather permitting, with the first cars crossing early Saturday.
"Government at its best should actually effectuate change, help people, solve problems, make a difference," Cuomo said. "Not in the abstract and theoretical, but in the real and in the practical. By completing a project of this magnitude on time and on budget, this bridge says that government has capacity. Society has capacity. We can confront our problems. We can solve our problems when we do it honestly, constructively and collectively."
The first, Rockland-bound span opened last year in a temporary traffic configuration comprised of four traffic lanes in each direction to allow design-builder Tappan Zee Constructors to complete construction of the second span in the footprint of the old bridge at its landings. The new bridge will serve more than 140,000 motorists each day.
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Hillary Clinton attends opening of Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge span