TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Environmental groups announced their support for the new Tappan Zee Bridge as the state issued construction permits for the project.
Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson both announced agreements with the state on extensive environmental protective measures and mitigation efforts for the Hudson River area while the new bridge is being constructed.
“We are making record progress on building a new bridge for the Hudson Valley while ensuring the comprehensive protection the environment and natural beauty of this region,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson’s support for the state’s extensive environmental protections is a critical step forward for the New NY Bridge.”
Pre-construction work on the $3.9 billion bridge has already begun in the River this week. State officials say the new bridge should be complete in 2018.
Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison said the agency would continue to work closely with environmentalists and others in the area as mitigation efforts are taken. The construction permit, issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, requires $10 million in improvements and research to compensate for the bridge construction, as well as mandates extensive programs for fish and water quality protections. The bridge project will have “minimal and short-term effects” on local endangered fish populations, the DEC said.
Specific environmental improvements include restoring the river channel at Gay's Point, replacing 13 acres of oyster beds that will be disturbed by construction, restoring Crumkill Creek and conducting research in the Piermont Marsh and improving Sparkill Creek.
“Riverkeeper is pleased to join Governor Cuomo and Scenic Hudson in finalizing this key permit that will protect the Hudson River and enable the new Tappan Zee Bridge project to move forward,” Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper, said in a statement.
“The significant reduction in dredging and the use of smaller pilings, coupled with a strong DEC permit, increased mitigation funding and the state’s agreement to give us a seat at the table in monitoring the construction all add up to a project we can work with,” he continued.
The state also announced a program to develop and implement $1.5 million in community-based waterfront revitalization projects to be done in collaboration with Scenic Hudson and state officials.
“Scenic Hudson is proud to have achieved, through this permit and agreement, stronger protections for the river and communities that could be impacted by the project,” Scenic Hudson President, Ned Sullivan, said. “Working collaboratively with Riverkeeper and the Cuomo administration, we have produced significant improvements to the project design that will result in fewer and less intensive environmental impacts. Also our advocacy has led to mitigation funds that will restore important habitat and give a boost to riverfront revitalization efforts in Westchester and Rockland County communities. We applaud the governor’s team for working with us to create a positive outcome”