Tappan Zee Constructors make safety changes after barges get loose on Hudson River

The construction company says a pair of lines snapped, letting a barge break free Sunday. (4/2/14)

PIERMONT - The contractor working on the new Tappan Zee Bridge is introducing new safety measures after a barge broke loose on the Hudson River Sunday.

Tappan Zee Constructors says a pair of lines between the moorings and the barge snapped Sunday, sending the barge floating down the Hudson. Piermont firefighters say high winds and waves are to blame for the lines snapping. It's the third barge that's broken loose on the Hudson since last September.

The construction company says it will now use stronger lines more resistant to high winds, and will be installing GPS devices on all their boats and barges.  They hope to have that project complete by the end of the month. The Piermont Fire Department also has installed an infrared camera on their boat to help locate any runaway vessels at night.

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The New York Thruway Authority is fining the contractor $1 million a month in response to the barges getting loose. Brian Conybeare, the governor's special advisor on the bridge project, says they're going to withhold the money until they're confident the safety improvements are working.

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