Marching bands and a special singing star helped Gov. Andrew Cuomo mark the opening of the second span of the new Tappan Zee Bridge.
In addition to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of Chappaqua, Cuomo celebrated Friday with hundreds of dignitaries and community members, workers who built the new bridge, high school students from Irvington and Nyack, Nyack High School's Red Storm Marching Band and singer-songwriter and Rockland County native Grace VanderWaal, who performed "The Star-Spangled Banner."
In addition to the unveiling of a commemorative plaque, the Governor, along with his mother Matilda Cuomo, also drove across the new bridge in a ceremonial first ride in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1932 Packard.
"I believe the bridge speaks for itself," Cuomo said in his opening address. "Of course I'm partial, but I believe it's beautiful. I believe the design needed to do justice to the magnificent surrounding—our majestic Hudson River at one of the widest points."
The $3.98 billion project to construct the 3.1-mile bridge - the first cable-stayed bridge across the Hudson River - is one of the largest in the U.S. and the biggest in the history of the New York State Thruway Authority.
Operations to shift four lanes of Westchester-bound traffic to the new span will begin at approximately 8 p.m. Friday, weather permitting, with the first cars crossing early Saturday.
Following tonight's shift, eastbound motorists will have access to four general traffic lanes and emergency shoulders, and a dedicated bus lane will open next month for eastbound traffic. The fully completed project will also include a bicycle and walking path.
Rockland-bound motorists will continue to use their current four lanes on the westbound span. In the coming weeks, the four lanes of westbound traffic will be shifted to the opposite side of the span—where the eastbound traffic was previously—to allow for the on-bridge construction of the bicycle/pedestrian path and its six overlooks.
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