For immediate release: December 18, 2013
TARRYTOWN RAMP FROM SOUTH BROADWAY TO TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE TO TEMPORARILY RE-OPEN TO TRAFFIC FOR HOLIDAY SEASON BEGINNING THURSDAY AFTERNOON, DECEMBER 19
The entrance ramp to the Tappan Zee Bridge (I-87 northbound/I-287 westbound) from South Broadway (Route 9) in Tarrytown will temporarily re-open to traffic for the holiday season, in time for the evening commute on Thursday, Dec. 19.
Referred to as “Ramp E” by the New York State Thruway Authority, the ramp from Route 9 southbound to I-87/I-287 was closed earlier this month to allow Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) to utilize the area surrounding the ramp for construction storage and staging for the New NY Bridge project.
While the ramp was initially closed on Dec. 5, there were no major backups until Friday Dec. 13. Since then, motorists in the area have experienced major delays during the evening rush as the result of a combination of events including multiple accidents and a vehicle fire on the Tappan Zee Bridge, snowy weather and emergency repairs on the George Washington Bridge that diverted extra traffic to I-87/I-287.
“The closure of the ramp may not have been the direct cause of the traffic tie-ups, but we want to do all we can to help travelers get to their destinations safely during the holidays,” said Brian Conybeare, Special Advisor to the Governor for the New NY Bridge Project. “Accidents and traffic jams like we’ve seen recently are one of the main reasons we need to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge and improve both safety and mobility in the region.”
The ramp has routinely closed for bridge-related maintenance projects. Its complete closure is required for the construction of the New NY Bridge, and to ensure safety for the traveling public and construction workers. It will be shut down again in January, after the busy holiday travel season.
Prior to the start of the New NY Bridge project, the Thruway conducted a comprehensive traffic study to determine the potential impact of closing Ramp E, and earlier this year TZC conducted an additional traffic study to verify its results. Findings from both studies indicated that the closure, by itself, would not have a significant impact on traffic.
The existing Tappan Zee Bridge has double the average accident rate of the entire 570-mile Thruway system. The high accident rate leads to traffic backups on a regular basis because there are no shoulders or emergency breakdown lanes. The New NY Bridge will have eight general traffic lanes as well as breakdown lanes, emergency vehicle lanes and dedicated express bus lanes to reduce traffic and increase driver safety.