With every meeting – and there are many – leading up to the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge there comes more questions. And with so many questions in so many different directions, it is hard to focus on one topic.
Alice Goldberg, head of the Quay Condo Association which has been referred to by some residents as the “” of the project on the Tarrytown side of the river, left Wednesday night's noise barrier meeting with a longer list of pending issues than she had before.
By law, a ballot has gone out on noise barriers to those most impacted in the surrounding neighborhoods in Westchester and Rockland counties with votes due back by May 24. The residents are emphatically asking for more time and more information.
To the dismay of some, the noise barrier vote has nothing to do with the noise now and to come for the many years of construction, but the noise later: from the functioning of the new bridge and its traffic. It's the construction (and the pre-construction) that has everyone most worried.
The villages got a taste of this on Monday.
The test pile-driving was “pretty intense,” Goldberg said. In fact, Patch has heard reports from people in various areas of both villages who could hear it for the hour or so that it went on pounding rhythmically. It's as if we live in an echo chamber that collects and amplifies all the noise coming from the Hudson.
Goldberg knows this is only the beginning and she expects “it will get worse,” having heard there will be multiple pile-drivers working at one time soon.
In addition to the noise, there is the vibration. Residents in older homes in the that seeks historic designation are worried about structural damage to their homes like cracking plaster. Then there's the whole Quay structure itself, “built on a terrace platform,” Goldberg said. “We don't know what this kind of pounding will do to our building, our homes, as well as the tennis courts, the clubhouse, the pool... Obviously not as important, but it affects the value of the property.”
Despite all the posters around the room at the Marriott on Wednesday and the usual slew of officials at the ready to answer questions, the answers often seem fuzzy. No one actually knows at this point where exactly the bridge will meet land. One local resident had asked Patch a while back to do some investigative reporting to find out; still searching.
“These are technical issues being presented to non-technical people,” Goldberg said. “We don't even know what we're dealing with.”
One question people have now is what's worse: the noise or the noise barrier? “They don't know what it's going to look like yet,” Goldberg said. “If we vote for it, the community is supposed to help decide what it is.”
“We don't have the information we need. We're voting on something that will last for many years and have an impact on us without any information,” she said.
While some of the 100 or so in attendance expressed their frustrations, Wednesday's meeting was somewhat less contentious than the one the night prior in Rockland County. Though some people are still holding out for renovating the current bridge, or even a tunnel, most are on board even with all the reservations.
The Quay dwellers, with the support of Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner, have met recently with Governor's Office about their list of mitigation concerns (rodent invasion, financial compensation, construction noise) and there will certainly be more meetings to come. The Village of Tarrytown, she said, can offer support and work with us, but they can't do much.
The State is apparently testing sound mitigation techniques during the pile-driving. They first measure without any mitigation and then try and measure different techniques.
The DOT has told South Nyack that it has noise measuring gear at Salisbury Point and a person walking in the village with a hand-held device taking measurements. Contractors are allowed to work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. South Nyack has requested the DOT abide by the village's restrictions of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, with quiet days on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.
On our side, this hasn't been laid out as clearly.
“The Village cannot regulate what the State does in regards to pile-driving, or actually in regards to any action by the State,” Village Administrator Mike Blau said. "They are exempt from our laws. I am anecdotally aware that they have representatives [monitoring noise] on the Tarrytown side. We can ask them to abide by our laws, but they have no obligation to do so."