On September 25, 2012, the Federal Highway Administration, New York State Department of Transportation, and New York State Thruway Authority approved a Joint Record of Decision and Findings Statement for the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project (the “Project”), concluding the extensive environmental review for the proposed replacement of the existing Tappan Zee Bridge.  Sive, Paget & Riesel is serving as special environmental counsel for the Project, which has been designated by the Obama Administration as a high-priority for the nation’s infrastructure needs.

The 3.1 mile-long Tappan Zee Bridge was built in 1955, and it is projected to cost the state approximately $1.3 billion over the next decade in upkeep and repairs.  The Project is intended to address the structural, operational, safety, security, and mobility needs of the crossing, maintaining a vital link in the regional and national transportation network while addressing the shortcomings of the existing bridge.  An Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) for a replacement was prepared to satisfy environmental review requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”).  After accepting public comment on both the draft and final EIS earlier this year, the lead agencies approved a replacement that includes two new bridge structures (one eastbound and the other westbound) just north of the existing location. 

The selected alternative includes multiple Environmental Performance Commitments (“EPCs”) and mitigation measures to avoid, minimize, and offset potential environmental impacts, including – among others – the use of noise barriers, use of ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel and emissions controls on construction equipment, restricted periods for dredging and pile driving activities, restoration of local oyster habitat, wetlands enhancements at a nearby marsh, tracking and study of endangered sturgeon species, and use of protective measures such as bubble curtains to reduce underwater noise during pile driving. 

For more information on the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement, or the environmental review of other major infrastructure projects, contact David Paget.