Cuomo: No Time Yet For Opening Of New Bridge Span

NYACK, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that a new bridge named for his father won’t open until engineers have completed their analysis of safety concerns involving the aging bridge nearby that it replaced.

He called the timing of the safety issues on the old bridge, arising just before the new span was to open publicly and mere hours after the grand opening ceremony, a “bizarre coincidence.”

Meanwhile, his opponents in the campaign for New York governor questioned whether the new bridge opening had been accelerated for political reasons in advance of Thursday’s upcoming primary election.

Cuomo, a Democrat, pointed out that the problem wasn’t with the new bridge, which the state controls, but with the old bridge, which it doesn’t. He added that the private entity that now owns the old span was overseeing its demolition and would determine its safety and stability.

The nearly $4 billion Mario M. Cuomo bridge links Westchester and Rockland counties 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of New York City, and replaces the old Tappan Zee Bridge, which opened in 1955. The first span of new bridge opened last year and currently carries Interstate 87’s eastbound and westbound traffic. Eastbound traffic was to be fully shifted to the second span Saturday morning.

The Tappan Zee is in the process of being demolished. On Friday, a piece of it became destabilized during the process of being disassembled, raising concerns that if it fell, it could hit the new bridge span and cause a public safety issue.

Cuomo said a date for the new span would be determined once the engineering analysis of the old bridge had been completed.