Fifth lane opens on Tappan Zee Bridge

Posted: Updated:

Commuters heading toward Westchester County experienced lighter traffic Thursday morning after the Thruway Authority added a fifth lane on Tappan Zee Bridge in hopes of easing congestion.

Wednesday night, crews moved the barrier wall to open up an extra southbound lane, leaving only two lanes on the northbound side. The move comes after weeks of extensive traffic backups linked to incidents involving large construction plates coming loose and falling onto the bridge.

Kenny Zarelli, who drives from New City to Irvington every morning, says for the first time in weeks he was not caught in traffic.

"It was a little better today," Zarelli says. "We're looking forward to seeing if those five lanes are going to help ... it can't hurt."

Charles Miller, of Mills, says he had a surprisingly good ride after the opening of the additional lane, even during rush hour. This morning, he says he managed to get from Nyack to Sleepy Hollow in 25 minutes.

But drivers traveling northbound into Rockland County say their commutes were made worse by the new five lane-two lane plan.

"It definitely was backed up onto the Tarrytown exit, which normally I would fly right through," Kathy D?Agostino, a Rockland commuter, says. "My concern would be is, if there was an accident, there would be nowhere to clear it."

Thruway Authority officials say they are just testing the new traffic pattern, which will be in effect Friday. They hope it will be the solution to the traffic jams recently caused by construction.

For more on the addition of the fifth Westchester-bound lane, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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