Tappan Zee Bridge in New York to be demolished Tuesday

Posted at 10:07 AM, Jan 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-15 20:11:10-05

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — A big chunk of the old Tappan Zee Bridge is going down in New York history.

Demolition with explosives is scheduled on Tuesday morning to remove the eastern part of the structure between Westchester and Rockland counties.

It’s already been replaced by the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, a major thoroughfare which carries Interstate 87 traffic over the Hudson River about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of New York City.

The Tappan Zee, which opened in 1955, was a poster child for America’s crumbling infrastructure. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the son of the new bridge’s namesake, recalled in 2017 an experience familiar to many Tappan Zee drivers — steel plates that shifted beneath traffic, providing unnerving glimpses through road cracks of the chasm below.

The Democrat said he’d envisioned escape scenarios in case he ended up in the water: ”‘Do I take off the seatbelt? Do I open the window?’ I had one of those special tools with the hammer and the seatbelt cutter.”

“I think it traumatized an entire generation,” he said.

The original demolition plans were to avoid the use of explosives that could have an impact on fish habitats. But experts determined the span was structurally unsound, preventing workers from continuing a piecemeal takedown.

There are plans to dismantle the western portion without explosives sometime this year.