Drivers say aging Tappan Zee is priority

Posted: Updated:

Local drivers say more pressing issues should take precedence over a proposal to put windmills atop the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner suggested Wednesday that windmills should be added to the Tappan Zee Bridge as part of an alternative-energy initiative. But drivers say that a backup caused by emergency repairs Tuesday night reflects a trend that has them worried and frustrated. Drivers say backups have become a common occurrence on the aging bridge and that thick plates mid-span are causing some to question their safety.

The state Department of Transportation says it has a plan in the works to address drivers? frustrations. The Tappan Zee's project team is still weighing the bridge's fate. Recommendations were originally scheduled to be announced in May. The DOT has selected investment bank Merrill Lynch to help it figure out how to pay for the multibillion-dollar project.

"We sought a financial advisor to advise the state Department of Transportation and its sister agencies about the pros and cons of various options for financing the project, identifying all potential sources of revenue and making recommendations about which would be the best ones for us to consider," says Jennifer Post, a DOT spokeswoman.

The DOT is still in the process of negotiating a contract with Merrill Lynch, but final approval needs to come from the office of state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. If given approval, Merrill Lynch is expected to begin work on the project in the fall.

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