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First span of new Tappan Zee Bridge to open Friday

First span of new Tappan Zee Bridge to open Friday

The first span of the long-awaited replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge opens to traffic Friday and is expected to carry more than 50 million cars across the Hudson River.

On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo toured the new bridge, which will be named after his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.

The second span is scheduled for completion in the spring.

The 3-mile bridge linking Westchester County to the New York State Thruway across the widest point in the Hudson is one of the largest public infrastructure projects underway in the U.S.

The project cost $4 billion to build. The state has dedicated $2 billion from bank settlements and $1.6 billion from a federal loan to fund the project, according to Cuomo’s office.

The Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge will partially open to four lanes of Rockland-bound traffic overnight on Friday, Aug. 25, weather permitting. For the next few months, northbound/westbound drivers on the New York State Thruway (I-87/I-287) will cross the Hudson River on the new bridge, while southbound/eastbound drivers will use the old bridge, each having four traffic lanes available, according to a news release from NewNYBridge.com.

Later this fall, the new bridge will completely replace the 62-year-old Tappan Zee Bridge when four lanes of Westchester-bound traffic also are shifted onto the first span.

The 62-year-old Tappan Zee Bridge was targeted for replacement because of its heavy traffic of more than 140,000 vehicles per day, narrow lanes and lack of emergency shoulders. The bridge has twice the average accident rate per mile as the rest of the 570-mile New York Thruway system.