It was an intimate group in attendance at Monday's Tappan Zee Bridge public hearing — one of many Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new team has conducted throughout the region and the first one in Sleepy Hollow. Small attendance meant more airtime for questions, and this group had many.
Most of the questions from the 15 or so citizens regarded issues that came up at a similar, although more populated, hearing held at the Tarrytown Senior Center: construction noise, pollution, future plans for trains and other mass transit, the use of noise-dampening surface materials, but here without however the detour down the rejected tunnel idea we saw at the Tarrytown meeting.
Three bridge designs are under consideration (with an advisory committee that includes everyone from renown artist Jeff Koons to Tarrytown Planning Board's David Aukland), as yet to be revealed to the general public.
Good news came to the attendees that there would be walkway/bikeway across the bridge, with jutways so people can step aside and enjoy the views. Another added item the current bridge sorely lacks: breakdown lanes, the presence of which is believed will cut down substantially on the many accidents and traffic jams that plague the bridge now.
Construction, including pile driving, is to be limited to at least 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays only, with some very limited activity on weekends for a few hours.
This led to one issue specific to Sleepy Hollow (albeit at the very riverfront border with Tarrytown) and team members said was new to them: the noise from workers coming and going from the Castle Oil boat launch.
A nearby resident complained that boat traffic taking workers to and from the worksite was very loud this spring, and it started up at 6 a.m. even though "work" was not to start until 7 a.m. Officials said they'd check into that.
Workers, explained lead engineer Mark Roche, are planning to use a process of vibrating in rather than pile driving the full depth as much as possible to cut down on the noise. This has been tested, he said, with great success so far.
They are going to use padding when they pile drive, so it shouldn't be as loud as we briefly experienced this spring. There will be a decibel meter running at all times, which people can look up online to see if noise is within acceptable range. If it is not, there will be a number to call.
This crew has certainly made themselves readily accessible and receptive to public input, and, lucky for us on this side of the bridge, the office to find spokesperson Brian Conybeare and his team is right in Tarrytown near the foot of the bridge at 303 South Broadway.
The meeting even ended on time for folks to get home for the last presidential debate. If you missed this meeting, not to worry, there's more:
The Dobbs Ferry Board of Trustees will host an informational meeting with Cuomo's team again offering on overview of the bridge and answering questions about its replacement at Dobbs Ferry Village Hall, 112 Main St. tonight, on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m.
The $5.2 billion project received its final approval from the Federal Highway Administration on Sept. 25. The federal agency issued a positive Record of Decision (ROD) for the new span, which has been championed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and White House officials.
The project is expected to take five years to complete. Though a $14 toll was suggested for the bridge, Cuomo has said that the amount is too excessive.
Click here for our ongoing coverage on the Tappan Zee Bridge project.