ALL WAS IN READINESS FRIDAY AFTERNOON FOR THE NEW EASTBOUND SPAN OF THE NEW MARIO CUOMO BRIDGE TO OPEN SATURDAY.
A LOUD CRACK IN THE REMAINING TOWER OF THE OLD TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE (VISIBLE BACKGROUND, FAR LEFT), CAUSED TAPPAN ZEE CONSTRUCTORS TO DELAY THE OPENING, UNTIL OLD SUPER STRUCTURE COULD BE DECLARED NOT A THREAT TO COLLAPSE
THE U.S. COAST GUARD HAS CLOSED THE EASTERN SHORE CHANNEL OF THE RIVER TO VESSEL TRAFFIC DUE TO THE POSSIBLE HAZARD TO SHIPPING AND RIVER VESSELS SAILING NORTH THROUGH THE EASTERN CHANNEL OF THE HUDSON BELOW.
WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications and WPCNR News Summary. September 9, 20118.
The Westchester County Executive George Latimer issued this statement on the New York State Thruway decision to close the new eastbound lanes of the Mario Cuomo new Tappan Zee Bridge Saturday evening:
“Westchester County Police became aware of the situation with the old Tappan Zee structure late Friday night. The County immediately stepped into action, and the County Police Marine Unit was deployed to help stop river traffic from going near the old structure.
(Editor’s Note: The U.S. Coast Guard closed the eastern half of the main federal navigation channel of the Hudson River on Friday after the structural issue was determined a risk for falling into the channel.)
We continue to work closely with State officials, and are in constant conversation with engineers on the scene. The safety of Westchester County residents, and all travelers, is our top priority.
Any further inquiries should be directed to the New York State Thruway Authority.”
The situation as of this morning, according to news reports:
The remaining Tappan Zee was continuing to be dismantled by work crews and a piece of the former bridge became “destabilized,” Matthew J. Driscoll, the executive director of the New York State Thruway Authority, said in a statement on Saturday.
Driscoll said analysis of the remaining structure continued under scrutiny. The new eastern bound span of the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge would remain closed until the authority was “assured there is no risk to the new span.”
Work crew members demolishing the old bridge heard a “loud pop” about 5 PM Friday in the structure, Terry Towle, the president of Tappan Zee Constructors, told reporters last night (Saturday).
Towle said there might be problems with joints that could have theoretically caused the old bridge to fall toward the new eastbound span, which is 160 feet away, he said.
The new span was not in danger, Mr. Towle said, but he gave no indication when the eastbound span would open to vehicular traffic. He said that would not happen until engineers determined the old bridge structure was “fully stabilized.”
Saturday afternoon, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said a damaged and rusted piece of the old bridge was the problem.
“We want to move the traffic over as quickly as possible,” Mr. Cuomo said. “The new bridge is ready.”