As the hours tick down to the opening of the first lanes of Rockland-bound traffic on the new Tappan Zee Bridge Friday evening, drivers hoping to be first in line to cross the sparkling pavement might have a long wait.
The entire process, which is slated to begin around 9 p.m., could take as long as 12 hours as lanes are shut down one by one on the old bridge and shifted to the new bridge. A process Tappan Zee Constructors is warning could take until 8 a.m. Saturday.
As the process takes place, motorists traveling on the northbound/westbound Thruway (I-87/I-287) should plan for multiple lane and ramp closures as well as brief traffic stoppages so workers can reconfigure the landings and stripe the lanes at both ends of the new 3.1-mile crossing.
In Westchester, the northbound/westbound Thruway exit 9 (Tarrytown – Sleepy Hollow – US Route 9) on-ramp from Route 119 will be closed at approximately 9 p.m. Drivers will be detoured one mile east on Route 119 to access the northbound Thruway.
The on-ramp is scheduled to reopen by 6 a.m. Saturday. The exit 9 off-ramp to Route 119 will remain accessible from the northbound Thruway.
Once completed, the configuration will include four lanes of northbound/westbound traffic on the new bridge and four lanes of southbound/eastbound traffic on the old (Tappan Zee) bridge. All lanes on the new bridge will be similar in width to the lanes on the old bridge.
The new bridge, specifically its landing areas, will remain an active construction site. As such, the posted speed limit will be 45 mph for the safety of motorists and construction workers. The Thruway Authority said they strongly encourage motorists to abide by the reduced speed limit and remain alert as they travel over the new bridge.
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