Photo by Andrew Dallos via Flickr Creative Commons.
At 3.2 miles long, New York State’s Tappan Zee Bridge up in the Hudson Valley is undergoing a major change. This past Saturday, after four years of construction and 20 years of governmental squabbling, the new Tappan Zee Bridge opened. In honor of this momentous occasion, we bring you the 10 secrets of both the old and new bridge.
10 The Tappan Zee Bridge is Built at One of the Widest Points on the Hudson River
Entrance to the original bridge, May 1973. Photo by Chester Higgins. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
One has to wonder why a bridge was even considered being built on one of the widest parts of the Hudson River. Would it not be more practical and economical to build the Tappan Zee across a more narrow section towards the south? The answer: if it was built 25 miles south of where the current bridge stands, it would have been in Port Authority territory, which means the they would have gotten the revenue from the bridge and not New York State.
Former Governor Thomas E. Dewey was planning an expansive New York State Thruway, a project, that at the time, would be one first highway systems in the country. While the Port Authority did have a proposal for a bridge a little further down in a narrower spot, Governor Dewey was able to kill their proposal. According to NPR, he “wanted that money to help pay for the rest of the thruway.” Dewey put the bridge as close as he could to Port Authority Territory without crossing over into it, but the location forced him to build a the exisiting three-mile long bridge. Had he gone a little further up, it would have been four.