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Officials: Tappan Zee Tunnel Not Practical

Thruway authorities note tunnel would be costly, congested

The proposed new Tappan Zee Bridge—expected to be complete by 2017 to the tune of $5.2 billion—was given the go-ahead after a tunnel option was deemed unsuitable, officials have said.

Experts studied the tunnel alternative before . The tunnel, officials said, would likely have consisted of five underground tubes, each with two lanes. Another tunnel option was one underground unit with two chambers.

The tunnel would have stretched seven miles and required "extensive shoreline and in-water work," reports said.

The concept was dismissed for a number of reasons, mainly due its cost and effect on the region's environment. Experts noted the tunnel "would take longer to construct at a higher cost," and the required bells-and-whistles—like ventilation—would impact nearby shorelines and swamps.

Another cardinal reason for its dismissal? An inability to accomplish its main goal—better transportation. Traffic flow would be often impaired, trucks would have trouble tackling steep grades and emergency vehicles would have longer response times, the report notes.

A tunnel would not allow for pedestrian and cycling paths either, a planned addition to the coming crossing. Some politicians want to take the plan further and , but Thruway officials and the Governor have yet to endorse the idea.

Still, the tunnel option retains supporters—mainly due to the possibility of reducing pollution. The Tappan Zee Bridge sees approximately 135,000 vehicles daily, and Richard Kavesh, Nyack's mayor, that transitioning that traffic underground would make for cleaner air.

Residents are also upset about the proposed bridge's lack of mass transit options. Although installing rail and bus lanes would just about triple the cost and bring the price tag to $16 billion, many Rocklanders .

"We do not want the bridge of 1955, but the bridge of 2055," said Jen Laird-White, Nyack's deputy mayor, at a . "It will be expensive, it will be difficult to achieve... but we need to bring back the money for mass transit."

John Gromada November 02, 2011 at 08:15 PM
The tunnel is a dead horse that's been beaten for years and years now, and was thoroughly studied in the EIS process. The big problem is there is 180 feet of silt on the west side of the river before you hit bedrock- you can't have a stable tunnel in silt. In order to get a road down to a tunnel as low as it would need to be at this section of the river, it would need to stretch from Elmsford to West Nyack, because of the grade. These facts have been out there for years.
John Gromada November 02, 2011 at 08:25 PM
Kevin's article states: "Although installing rail and bus lanes would just about triple the cost " This is very misleading- the bus rapid transit option would add under $3 billion to the cost of the bridge- about 45% more than the bridge without transit. They're trying using the most costly transit scenario to scare people into accepting a new bridge with no transit
E. Loughran November 06, 2011 at 07:09 AM
A tunnel from West Nyack to Elmsford.....sounds great! Restores the village of Nyack to the resort-town destination it was historically. Keeping the current bridge as a pedestrian walkway would make it a tourist destination year round. Put a world- class (P. Kelly?) restaurant in the middle....Chesapeake Bay/Bridge did it. Develop our local economy around a re-imagined "village", known for its scenery, sailing, food & arts. Instead of traffic...performances: musical or theatrical, over the Hudson. Isolating the community from the thruway could be the best thing to happen since the bridge was built. The current bridge could be maintained, only used by emergency vehicles...and maybe jitney service to the Tarrytown station. Start a pedicab business like the one in Time's Square. Loads of possibilities......
Mercedes Kent Ross November 16, 2011 at 05:08 PM
Why do they keep reminding us of the walk and bike path?? Is that what they are serving up instead of some sort of mass transit?
Chris November 16, 2011 at 10:46 PM
The BRP (Bus Rapid Transit System) does not work you do the full thruway corridor project. The thruway must be widened to its right-of-way limit. BRP stations and road and exit enhancements must be made as well. The cost of this is more then 3 billion. As with most mass transit systems. The system could be revenue self sustaining.

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