Thanks to recent projects like the High Line and Walkway Over the Hudson, New Yorkers have enjoyed urban and natural scenery from new heights as these elevated pathways lift pedestrians out of the clamor of city streets and into the city’s famous skyline. As the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement gets underway, officials are proposing yet another skyway for height-happy revelers.
A review process is underway to determine if the 3-mile bridge is fit to be retrofitted into a world-class greenway upon completion of the replacement span. Construction for the new bridge is set to begin this year after nearly $90 million in studies, over 400 public meetings, ten plus years of talks and a nearly $2 billion federal loan.
Demolishing the existing bridge could cost up to $130 million, prompting project leaders to entertain other options for transforming the existing span into a useful and aesthetically pleasing addition to the New York suburbs.
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Assemblyman Tom Abinanti of the district on the bridge’s east end told the Wall Street Journal, “We believe an unbiased study will show that it will be less expensive to leave the bridge up than to take it down, and at the same time, you'll be providing a marvelous recreational opportunity with beautiful views of the river."
The current bridge would provide a stunning vista of the Hudson for bicyclists and walkers alike, and potentially bolster the precedent of transforming aging public works into innovative recreational facilities.
According to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the replacement project’s winning bid will be announced this summer, potentially bringing 45,000 jobs to the area at a cost of nearly $5.2 billion.