The state’s new Hudson River Crossing project to replace the does not include a mass transit component, but Clarkstown officials pledge to keep pushing for one. Town Principal Planner Joe Simoes presented a report from the Tappan Zee Bridge Task Force, which had been formed in March 2010 to analyze the different parts of the original Tappan Zee Bridge/I287 Corridor project. Even though the project has been scaled back and put on a fast track, he felt it was important to share the task force’s conclusions in its position paper with the town board at its Tuesday night workshop.
Simoes told the town board he had met with Department of Transportation officials on Monday to discuss the new bridge plan. According to the new plan, he said the construction will stop at the Broadway overpass in Nyack and then taper down to the existing NY State Thruway.
Simoes said the new bridge plan does not resolve all the issues.
“Just replacing the bridge doesn’t erase the problems,” he said. “The state needs to invest in the Pascack Valley line.”
Simoes said the Task Force’s analysis of the original plan found numerous gaps in the proposal for parts of the project within Clarkstown. The 17-member Task Force had been divided into four subcommittees to study: multimodal stations, BRT/CRT, Thruway Road Realignment and stormwater mitigation/water quality. He said the state ignored the current mass transit in Clarkstown.
The Pascack Valley line of NJ Transit stops in Nanuet. He emphasized the state needs to look at long-term mass transit options as part of the new plan. No mass transit is currently included in the new bridge plans, which are for a span with four lanes in each direction, an emergency access lane and wide shoulders.
“We went from the full project to just replacing the bridge,” said Simoes. “Just replacing the bridge is not the ultimate solution.”
Town Supervisor Alex Gromack said it was important to remain in communication with the state especially if there is a possibility that bus rapid transit could be added at a later date.
“Going forward we don’t want them to think we’re going away,” said Gromack.
Gromack said borings could possibly begin in August and the construction would take five years.
Simoes said they just received the 1,000 page DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) for review and will possibly submit responses. The deadline for comments is March 15.
Simoes said the Task Force’s position paper raises valid points even though the scope of the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement changed. The board will add the report to the agenda for its next meeting and will vote on adopting it and forwarding it to the state.
Town Attorney Amy Mele suggested the board also ask the state to authorize ongoing discussions with the town while the new bridge is being built. Simoes distributed a summary of the 22-page report and Council member Stephanie Hausner asked that the full report be posted on the town’s web site. The report is online.